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Daunt and Dervish


Daunt and Dervish is a delightful radio 4 series about two former World War Two spies. They are Josephine Daunt (played by Anna Massey) and Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton). They met up after the war and decided to form a lady detective agency, though they are joined by a former spiv and wheeler dealer Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson). In the second series, broadcast three years later, Frances Barber replaced Imelda Staunton and Sean Scanlan took over the role of Bill Mackie. Each episode was 45 minutes.

Bill Mackie is the love interest in the plays and forms an on off love affair with Josephine Daunt.

The Daunt and Dervish office is located at Covent Garden, London.

The comedy thriller series has captured the post war period beautifully and have attracted some top radio actors.

The idea for the series came from the original cast actresses, Anna Massey and Imelda Staunton.

Daunt and Dervish Episode Guide


Series One
Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2003.

Pilot Episode - After the Ball is Over
Two former Ministry of Defence spies, one who worked undercover in France and one who worked in Whitehall supporting the fieldwork of the spies during World War II form a detective agency. They are joined by war spiv Bill Mackie and love starts to blossom as the agency work develops.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton)
Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson)
Elizabeth Vavasseur (Kate Buffery)
James Vavasseur (Rupert Vansittart)
Charles (Ben Crowe Daisy)
Beth Chalmers, Andrew Harrison and Stephen Critchlow in supporting roles.
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Cherry Cookson and originally broadcast on 17 November 2003.



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South of the Border
A woman tries to drown herself by jumping from a bridge but is rescued by Daunt and Dervish. All is not what it seems and the detective couple set out to investigate the woman with the help of Bill Mackie. They soon find themselves at the race track where they meet some shady people and a man deeply in love.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton)
Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson)
Ted Sharping (Bill Nighy)
Inspector Morgan (Joan Meredith Flora)
Madame Januski (Helen Longworth)
Carolyn Jones Manager and Jonathan Keeble in supporting roles.
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Janet Whitaker and originally broadcast on 20 November 2003.


A Question of Class
An Oxford undergraduate is found drunk on the doorstep of the Daunt and Dervish detective agency. He asks the detectives to go to a Soho house of ill repute to retrieve his wallet where they discover that he may have beaten up one of the ladies.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton)
Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson)
Stephen Lane (Charlie Simpson)
Jamie Urquhart (Scott Handy Mimi)
Rachel Atkins (Doctor)
Tom George (Salesman)
Stephen Critchlow in supporting roles.
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Cherry Cookson and originally broadcast on 27 November 2003.


Games of Chance
The manager of an East End boxer about to fight for a place in the 1948 Olympics boxing team asks the lady detectives to keep a 24 hour watch on his young prodigy. The soon discover that the local Catholic priest has been taking a special interest in the boy's progress and have to discover why.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton)
Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson)
Tommy (Carl Prekopp)
Maria (Liza Sadovy)
Andrew (Harrison Constantine)
Stephen Critchlow in supporting roles.
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Cherry Cookson and originally broadcast on 04 December 2003.


The Singer, not the Song
A newspaper magnate is murdered and the police suspect his much younger wife. Then the police start to suspect Daunt and Dervish when they learn that they were in the grounds of his house earlier that evening. The two detectives have their detecting licence suspended. They set out to discover the real murderer and earn back their detective licence.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Imelda Staunton)
Bill Mackie (Bill Paterson)
Daniel Slater (Nicky Henson)
Ellen McQuaid (Alison Petitt)
Mel Rankin (Gerard McDermott)
Ben Greenway (Harry Myers)
Inspector Bartholomew (Andrew Harrison)
Martha (Marlene Sidaway)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Cherry Cookson and originally broadcast on 11 December 2003.


Series Two
Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2006.

In Questionable Shape
Back to London 1947 and the Daunt and Dervish detective agency is back in business without Bill who left to return to Glasgow at the end of the last season. He left behind a heartbroken Josephine Daunt. The lady detectives find themselves at The Old Vic Theatre to uncover a mystery and as they delve into their investigation an old friend comes home.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Frances Barber)
Bill Mackie (Sean Scanlan)
Ronald Calloway (Geoffrey Whitehead)
Noel Coward (Nicholas Boulton)
Waterloo Eddie Reed (Kim Wall)
Kate Renshaw (Tracy Wiles)
Magdalena Pearce (Elizabeth Bell)
Inspector Braithwaite (Thomas Wheatley)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed by Colin Guthrie and originally broadcast on Friday 19 May 2006.


Que Reste-t-ll de Nos Amours?
Daunt and Dervish are asked to act as agents to bid for a Monet at auction. This little test sets them up to auction a much more valued item. It sets open a trail that leads across the channel, to France, where painful wartime memories are opened and churned up. Can Susan Dervish lay a ghost to rest?
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Frances Barber)
Bill Mackie (Sean Scanlan)
Vivienne (Sian Thomas)
Hugh (Roger Hammond)
Marcel (Harry Myers)
Inspector Braithwaite (Thomas Wheatley)
Beryl (Elizabeth Bell)
Leclerc (Kim Wall)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed and produced by Colin Guthrie and originally broadcast on Friday 26 May 2006.


Some Commandment or Other
A leading divorce lawyer employs the detectives to investigate his wife. They set up what they think is a simple surveillance operation, but things are never simple for the Daunt and Dervish detective agency and events turn into something altogether more sinister.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Frances Barber)
Bill Mackie (Sean Scanlan)
Phillip (Michael N Harbour)
Jennifer (Tracy Wiles)
Sir Bernard (Ewan Bailey)
Inspector Blakemore (Kim Wall)
Doctor Phelps (Thomas Wheatley)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed and produced by Colin Guthrie and originally broadcast on Friday 2 June 2006.


A Farewell to Ingleby
Josephine Daunt is delighted to receive a surprise invitation to spend the weekend at an old friend's country house, but the weekend does not go quite as planned.
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Frances Barber)
Bill Mackie (Sean Scanlan)
Sir Gerald Collingham-Brown (Nigel Anthony)
Prince Ravani (Amerjit Deu)
Chandra (Leena Dhingra)
Manny Lehmann (Harry Landis)
Penny (Tracy Wiles)
Richard Venlow (Kim Wall)
Dodders (Thomas Wheatley)
Bodyguard (Simon Nahal)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed and produced by Colin Guthrie and originally broadcast on Friday 9 June 2006.


Base Metal
The smog is London gets heavier and heavier and Daunt and Dervish bump into a charming American who helps himself to a purse. Daunt and Dervish are surprised when Mackie recognises the description of their charming American thief. Mackie's landlady gives birth and he gets less and less sleep - but Daunt has a spare room - will this help love blossom?
Cast List:
Josephine Daunt (Anna Massey)
Susan Dervish (Frances Barber)
Bill Mackie (Sean Scanlan)
Mike 'Marzipan' Marsley (Nathan Osgood)
Benedict Malgrave (Geoffrey Bayldon)
Argentine Sailor (Harry Myers)
Woollerton (Thomas Wheatley)
Beryl (Elizabeth Bell)
Barman (Kim Wall)
This episode was written by Guy Meredith, directed and produced by Colin Guthrie and originally broadcast on Friday 16 June 2006.


The pianist throughout the Daunt and Dervish detective series was Harry Myers.


Daunt and Dervish is occasionally repeated on BBC7. It is hoped that the serials will be available to buy on CD or talking book.


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A new episode of Daunt and Dervish was broadcast on Woman's Hour from Monday 4 February to Friday 8 Feb 2008. This first episode of Daunt and Dervish was untitled but was set in 1953 at the time of the Coronation. Bill is learning to play a musical instrument for the street party. Film Director Ricard Biro invited the private detectives to tea at Claridge's. He tells them about his cousin who invented the pen and his friend the actress Miss Belinda Lane. He claims to be on talking terms with Sir Winston Churchill the Prime Minister. He wants the lady detectives to investigate if their is a another man in Belinda Lane's life.

Their investigation leads them to the Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde shoot from Magna Pictures. They claim to be from the Robert Louis Stevenson estate and are invited to watch. The fog effect is too much and the leading actress falls over because she cannot see.

Bill gets private lessons from Sally Hastings for his clarinet. She asks him to do a little job.

A scream comes from Belinda's dressing room. The door is locked shut and Susan Dervish charges it. Is Belinda dead...

In episode two of Daunt and Dervish they find Belinda slumped against the door, alive but drunk and there is a half empty bottle of tablets on her dresser table. But who was he heavily built man they saw running away. Was it attempted suicide or something more similar. Daunt and Dervish visit Belinda later in hospital. Belinda says she was alone in her room but does have powerful enemies. As she is about to tell them more the ward Sister asks them to leave so her patient can rest.

Bill's job from Sally Hastings is to dig up the remains of her dead husband Alf! She has buried some valuables with him and wants the back to invest into her business. She asks Bill to join her as a business partner.

Daunt and Dervish visit Belinda's flat for come clues. Susan uses her special ops training to pick the lock. They find a hand written note that has been written in Russian and signed Victor.

As they leave Daunt and Dervish bump into Mosley Brown of MI5 who is holding a gun...

Mosley Brown claims to be acting in the defence of the realm. As they question why Belinda Lane is in the national interest Bill jumps Mosley Brown but ends up with a split lip. How will this affect his clarinet playing?

Belinda Lane checks out of Runnymede Hospital with an oddly dressed woman. Meanwhile Daunt and Dervish seek out a Russia interpreter to read the letter they took from her flat.

Bill lets Sally down gently that he cannot play the clarinet. She offers to kiss him better! A taxi pulls up and Bill makes his get away.

Bill goes for a drink and finds Freddy Tinsley. He confirms that he was not having an affair with Belinda Lane. He does think that her suicide was a set up though so that the director could pick up the insurance. He thinks they set up Daunt and Dervish as credible witnesses.

The letter is translated and it is a private love letter that the Russian interpreter is hesitant to translate incase they are working for the Russian state. Daunt and Dervish see Mosley Brown and set out to follow him but loose him in the East End back streets.

By the bank of the Thames Bill sees a floating body...

Daunt and Dervish see a tailors shop called La Novskey. They enter and find Belinda and her mother and confront her about her intentions to emigrate to America. She introduces them to Victor Chernov who is the Cultural Attaché of the Soviet Government. They have been a couple for several years. They are trying to leave the country and admit to faking her suicide.

Bill dives in to get the body, it is Biro. Bill searches his flat to look for some clues and to find out the backer of his film. There are cuttings of the MP Mr Ross who is a Cabinet Minister in Biro’s flat. Is he Biro’s backer?

Bill finds a friend of a friend whose child Oliver plays the clarinet really well. He and Sally hear him play and have a private chat whilst he goes in the other room. When they go back to Oliver he is missing...

In the final episode of Daunt and Dervish the detectives get a telegram from their Intelligence contact - Mosley Brown was sacked several years ago. Is he the kidnapper of Oliver, Belinda's son?

Mosley Brown is ransoming Oliver to Ross because he thinks he is the natural father of Oliver. However Mosley Brown is also blackmailing Victor Chernov. The RAF fly past for the Queens Coronation is about to start at Buckingham Palace and Daunt and Dervish see Oliver. They give chase despite Mosley Brown being armed. They can't get through the crowd but Oliver makes his way to Josephine Daunt but a gun fires. It was fired by a Russian Guard who saw an armed Mosley Brown. Freddie Tinsley is giving up writing to become a butler in America whilst Belinda and Victor decide to return to Russia. As the series ends Sally Hastings and Oliver Lane play a duet on the clarinet and a toast is given to Queen Elizabeth. Bill and Josephine enjoy the first dance.




Cast List

Josephine Daunt - Anna Massey
Susan Dervish - Sylvestra Le Touzel
Bill Mackie - Sean Scanlan
Ricard Biro - Peter Marinker
Gordon Teague - Ben Onwukwe
Freddie Tinsley - Simon Treves
Belinda Lane - Joannah Tincey
Sally Hastings - Jane Whittenshaw
Biro's assistant - Sam Pamphilon

The Director of this episode of Daunt and Dervish was Colin Guthrie.



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