Pepys- the dramatisation of Samuel Pepys’s diary LBC London 1987

The actor Mike Shannon in costume as Samuel Pepys in 1987

Mike Shannon as Samuel Pepys. Photo: James Horton

Pepys was the first project undertaken by IRDP and began as a creative project in 1986 when Tim Crook and Richard Shannon joined together to develop audio/radio drama in the independent sector of the UK’s radio industry.

The production was first broadcast by LBC Radio on FM and Medium Wave in October 1987 in 5 minute episodes during a lunch-time live programming sequence presented by Steve Jones.

At the time Tim Crook was IRN/LBC’s crime and legal affairs specialist correspondent, with an office at the Central Criminal Court, and Richard was a professional theatre director. They were also both dramatists and had originally met when Richard joined Westminster City School in 1975. Both writers researched and plotted a series of 8 one hour productions, but their production budget eventually permitted 4 one hour plays. A one and a half hour television screenplay was also written based on their research and scripts. They both worked as a writing partnership with each taking on wholly or most of the scripting of specific episodes and later dramatisations. They would seek to improve and guide each other’s writing in terms of feedback and editing. In the radio project Tim Crook was responsible mainly for Fire and Plague and Richard Shannon for Jealousy and Infidelity.

This production was marketed as a single four hour cassette package sold exclusively through LBC Radio, at Gough Square in early 1988,  which was later repackaged and marketed in a label entitled ‘The Drama Collection’ that enjoyed WH Smith exclusivity in distribution as 2 titles:

Pepys:- Fire & Plague

Pepys:- Jealousy & Infidelity

Cast List and credits Fire & Plague:

Samuel Pepys as a young man and at the time he started his diary

Samuel Pepys: Mike Shannon; Elizabeth Pepys: Alexandra Mathie; Mary Skinner: Kay Clayton; Sir William Penn: Ian Bamforth; Sir William Batten: David Peart; Doctor Burnett: Tim Bannerman; Mrs Burnett: Cate Hamer; Grave Diggers: Ian Bamforth and Tim Bannerman; Mr Turner: Joe Dunlop; Mrs Turner: Polly Taylor; Duke of York: Richard Shannon; other parts played by the cast; written directed and produced: Richard Shannon & Tim Crook; music played by Anne Tucker on a replica of a period harpsichord, which she made herself; photographs of Mike Shannon as Samuel Pepys by James Horton at St Olaf Church, City of London, acting masters and mixing recorded at the IRN/LBC Westminster Parliamentary studios in 1987.

Additional credits for Jealousy & Infidelity: Lady Penn: Polly Taylor; Uncle White: Ian Bamforth; Pembleton: Tim Bannerman; Will Hewer: David Peart; Rolt: Joe Dunlop.

The series was commissioned from IRDP by the following executives at LBC: Peter Thornton, managing director, and Programme Director and Editors, Philip Bacon and Robin Malcolm. The executive producer for the Steve Jones programme was Colin Parkes.


CD copies of the masters of 4 commercial one hour productions:

Part 1: Fire

Part 2: Plague

Part 3: jealousy

Part 4 Infidelity.

Format 44.1 kHz copied from mini-disc masters with mini-disc compression and bit rate-

Monument to Samuel Pepys by Sir Arthur Blomfield, erected in the church of St. Olave, Hart Street, 1884.

originally copied from DAT masters at 48 kHz 16 bit- copied from reel to reel audio tape masters 15 inches per second stereo.

Three x 5 and a quarter inch Tandy Computers Certified Diskettes labelled:

‘New Write/ Pepys Project…Fire Scripts…Pepys Script Sony Entry Fire.’

‘New Write Pepys Project…Plague Scripts…Pepys Script Sony Entry Plague.’

‘Infidelity (Pepys) Pepys… Script Infidelity Sony Entry.’

One inlay card ‘Stereo Theatre, Pepys Jealousy & Infidelity’ WH Smith exclusive Cassettes

Inlay card for WH Smiths double cassette pack of Pepys Jealousy & Infidelity

Inlay card for ‘Stereo Theatre’, Pepys Fire & Plague- new edition for ‘The Drama Collection’.

Archive holding: Two x double cassette packs ‘Pepys Fire and Plague’ The Drama Collection.

Archive extract of the first 2 minutes of the production and mix for the cassette version including the harpsichord music of Ann Tucker

Source books for researching the dramatisation scripts:


Diary and Correspondence of Samuel Pepys in 4 volumes. With a Life and Notes by Richard. Lord Braybrooke- A verbatim reprint of the edition of 1848-1849, London George Allen & Company 1911.

View of the Old Navy House in Crutched Friars where Pepys worked.

The Diary of Samuel Pepys  MA. F.R.S. Edited with additions by Henry B.  Wheatley F.S.A, in 8 volumes. London, George Bell & Sons York St Covent Garden Cambridge Deighton Bell & Co. 1895

The Diary of Samuel Pepys- transcribed by the late Rev. Mynors Bright, M.A., edited with additions by Henry B. Wheatley, F.S.A in 4 volumes, London, G. Bell and Sons Ltd, 1946.

Samuel Pepys: The Man In The Making by Arthur Bryant, London Collins 1959.

Samuel Pepys: The Saviour of the Navy by Arthur Bryant, London Collins 1957.

Samuel Pepys: The Years of Peril by Arthur Bryant, London Collins 1958.

Samuel Pepys: The Man in the Making by Arthur Bryant, London The Reprint Society 1949.

Plan of part of the Tower Ward showing the position of the Navy Office and of the Churches of St Olave and AllHallows, Barking.


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