The Tower

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The Tower is a radio play for which Delia created sound in 1964 in collaboration with John Harrison.

[Peter] Weiss' first dramatic work, The Tower, was a radio drama. [...] Its first English production was in a BBC broadcast, directed by Martin Esslin, in 1964.[1]

It takes place within the mind of a young man struggling to free himself from the domination of his family background with its respectability, its rigid rules, its possessiveness. Everything that happens in the play happens within the hero's mind at different levels.[2]

Delia's papers contain a letter from its producer, Martin Esslin, to Desmond Briscoe in which he writes:

I have just been listening to the playback of the completed version of "THE TOWER" and should like to express my deep appreciation for the excellent work done on this production by Delia Derbyshire and John Harrison. This play set them an extremely difficult task and they rose to the challenge with a degree of imaginative intuition and technical mastery which deserves the highest admiration and which will inevitably earn a lion's share of any success the production may eventually achieve. I only wish that it were possible for the names of contributors of this calibre to be mentioned in the credits in the Radio Times and on the air. But failing this I should like to register the fact that I regard their contribution to this production as being at least of equal importance to that of the producer himself.[3]

She appears to have re-used some of it for the Brighton Festival.[4]


  • Author: Peter Weiss
  • Translator: Michael Hamburger
  • Pablo: Michael Bryant
  • Manageress: Beatrix Lehmann
  • Ringmaster: Felix Felton
  • Carlo: Gabriel Woolf
  • Conjuror: Nigel Davenport
  • Midget: Timothy Harley
  • Lady Lion Tamre: Margaret Wolfit
  • Other parts played by: Patricia Leventon, Kevin Flood, Bruce Beeby, Michael Kilgarriff, Glyn Dearman, Wilfrid Carter
  • Special effects by the BBC's Radiophonic Workshop
  • Produced by: Martin Esslin[5]


  • First broadcast on the BBC Third programme at 8.30, "to be repeated on July 19" [1964]
  • If she included it in the Brighton Festival there may be some of it in the Attic Tapes.


  1. Canadian Theatre Review, Issues 33-36, p.103, at the Faculty of Fine Arts, York University.
  2. DD110224: Radio Times clipping for The Tower on the Third programme at 8.30 with a description by Martin Esslin.
  3. DD153341: Letter from Martin Esslin to Desmond Briscoe, 30 June 1964.
  4. DD082814: List of pieces Delia was thinking of reusing for the Brighton Festival.
  5. DD110236: Radio Times clipping announcing the broadcast of The Tower at 8.30 with credits and a photograph of leading actor Michael Bryant.