Peter Fraenkel pays tribute to the late BBC radio drama producer John Theocharis
I was the BBC’s Greek programme organiser when the BBC radio drama producer John Theocharis, who died earlier this year, applied to us for a job, having graduated from Rada. We had no vacancy and could only offer him some freelance work. We immediately saw that this was a man of great talent. He got the first vacancy that arose.
Born in Alexandria, he spoke Greek, French, Italian, English etc. I soon came to the conclusion that our little Greek service did not give him the opportunities he deserved. I spoke to Martin Esslin, then head of BBC drama – a personal friend. “Oh,” sighed Martin, “I get offered half a dozen geniuses every week.” At my third attempt, Martin agreed to give “Theo” a brief trial. And only moments later Theo was in a top job in BBC domestic radio. I had, however, lost my best Greek broadcaster!