From the BBC Press Office:
The Better Half
Bank Holiday Monday 25 May
11.30am-12.00noon BBC RADIO 4
Martin Jarvis directs a recently discovered Noel Coward play, starring Samuel West, Lisa Dillon and Federay Holmes.
In an unusual psychological ploy, an unhappy wife encourages her husband to leave her to pursue a happier connection with her friend. But does her apparent selflessness conceal a hidden agenda?
Written by Coward in 1921 when he was just 22 years old, the play was thought to have been lost until it was discovered among archives in the British Library in 2007.
Originally performed in private in 1922, Coward's play about marital disharmony was never published. The Lord Chamberlain, who then had to licence all plays for public performance, refused to grant it a licence as it was deemed too racy.
Jarvis and the production team worked from copies of Coward's original manuscript, complete with the author's signature and penned changes.
Jarvis said: "We were privy to his thoughts, re-typings, even his crossings-out and inked-in rewrites. It was enormously helpful – we felt he was virtually with us in the studio."