On this day in history….25th November 1952

On this day in history : 25th November 1952 – Agatha Christie’s murder mystery play ‘The Mousetrap’ opens at the Ambassadors Theatre, London….

With its original cast, including Richard Attenborough and Sheila Sim, it is to become the longest continuously-running play in history…. Agatha Christie herself thought it would only run for about 8 months….

Photographer unknown – Public domain

A radio play entitled ‘Three Blind Mice’ was broadcast on the 30th of May 1947 – from this came a short story – on which The Mousetrap was based…. Agatha Christie asked that the story not be published until after the play had finished its West End run…. To this day the story has still not been published in the UK – (although it has been in the United States)….

Agatha was always very particular in trying to ensure her plots were not revealed…. In true tradition at the end of each plot twisting performance of The Mousetrap the audience is asked not to reveal the identity of the murderer outside of the theatre – so as not to spoil it for future audiences….

Photo credit : Dark Dwarf via Flickr

On this day in history….3rd June 1971

On this day in history : 3rd June 1971 – The premier in London’s West End of the longest-running comedy in history ~ “No Sex Please, We’re British”….starring Michael Crawford….

Written by Alastair Foot and Anthony Marriott and directed by Allan Davis the farcical play opened at the West End’s Strand Theatre….

Strand Theatre (2007) – Turquoisefish CC By 3.0

The plot centred around Bank Manager Peter Hunter and his new wife, Frances, who live in a flat above the bank…. Frances sends away for some Scandinavian glass – but when it arrives it turns out to be not glass at all….but Scandinavian pornography…. A flood of photographs, books and films begins to arrive and the couple, along with the bank’s chief cashier, Brian Runnicles, desperately try to find a way to get rid of it…. Matters are complicated by Peter’s interfering mother, his boss, a bank inspector and a police superintendent….

The part of Brian Runnicles was at first played by Michael Crawford and later by David Jason…. Crawford used the character of Runnicles for his persona of Frank Spencer in “Some Mother’s Do ‘Ave ‘Em”…. He was offered the part of Frank after the success of “No Sex Please, We’re British” but had not been the first choice for the hit sit-com…. the part had been offered to Ronnie Barker and then Norman Wisdom – but both had turned it down…. However, it has to be said Michael Crawford made Frank Spencer his own….

Michael Crawford in Sydney, 2012 – Eva Rinaldi CC BY-SA 2.0

The character of Frances Hunter in “No Sex Please, We’re British” was initially played by Belinda Carroll…. The comedy ran until 1987, playing at full houses at three West End theatres:- The Strand, The Garrick and The Duchess, giving a total of 6,761 performances…. However, it did not enjoy the same level of success in America, closing after only sixteen performances on Broadway in 1973….

Also in 1973 a film version starring Ronnie Corbett as Brian was released with with changes to names, script and elements of the plot….