Samiksha Jaiswal (Editor)

Paul Temple

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Created by  Francis Durbridge
Occupation  Author, detective
Creator  Francis Durbridge
Gender  Male
Nationality  English
Paul Temple BBC Radio 4 Extra Paul Temple

Portrayed by  Carl BernardHugh MortonBarry MorseHoward Marion CrawfordKim PeacockPeter CokeAnthony HulmeJohn BentleyFrancis MatthewsCrawford Logan
Spouse(s)  Louise ("Steve") Temple
First appearance  Send for Paul Temple (1938)
Similar  Sexton Blake, The Saint, Lord Peter Wimsey, Bulldog Drummond, Father Brown

Paul Temple is a fictional character, created by English writer Francis Durbridge (1912–1998). Temple is a professional author of crime fiction and an amateur private detective. Together with his journalist wife Louise, affectionately known as Steve after her pen name "Steve Trent", he solves whodunnit crimes through subtle, humorously articulated deduction. Always the gentleman, the strongest oath he ever utters is "by Timothy".


Paul Temple Send for Paul Temple BBC Audio Crime Amazoncouk Francis

Created for the BBC radio serial Send for Paul Temple in 1938, the Temples have featured in over 30 BBC radio dramas, 12 serials for German radio, four British feature films, a BBC television series, and several novels. A Paul Temple comic strip ran in the London Evening News from the mid-1950s to the early 1960s.

Paul Temple Paul Temple and the Sullivan Mystery Radio Collection Amazonco

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Paul Temple was a professional novelist. While he possessed no formal training as a detective, his background in constructing crime plots for his novels enabled him to apply deductive reasoning to solve cases whose solution had eluded Scotland Yard.

Paul Temple Calling Paul Temple Wikipedia

Over the course of each case, Temple eschewed formal interviews or other police techniques, in favour of casual conversations with suspects and witnesses. Yet even this informal style of investigation invariably precipitated attempts by the suspects to hamper him, through traps, ambushes, even assassination attempts. Surviving these, Temple would arrange a cocktail party or similar social event at which he unmasked the perpetrator.

Paul Temple Paul Temple on Film

At the end of each tale, Paul, Steve and Sir Graham Forbes held a post mortem. Here, Paul explained why certain events in the serial took place, which of these had been red herrings, and which had been genuine clues. Some elements of the plot had already been explained during the serial, while others were occasionally never fully explained, due to limitations of time.

Original radio serials

The Paul Temple characters and formula were developed in a succession of BBC radio serials broadcast between 1938 and 1968, with several voice actors portraying the Temples. The longest running team, and the most popular with audiences, was Peter Coke (pronounced Cooke) and Marjory Westbury, who starred together in every serial made between 1954 and 1968 — and Marjory Westbury also co-starred as Steve Temple in every serial aired between 1945 and 1954.

The introductory and closing music for the majority of the long-running BBC radio series was Coronation Scot, composed by Vivian Ellis, although the earliest serials (those aired prior to December 1947) used an excerpt from Scheherazade by Nikolai Rimsky-Korsakov.

The very earliest serials aired only on regional services of the BBC, in the Midlands. As the serials gained in popularity, they were aired nationally instead on the Home Service. But in 1945 they found a permanent home on the newly founded BBC Light Programme, where they remained (apart from occasional repeats on Home Service) until the final serial in 1968. Repeats of selected serials continued to be heard on Radio 4 (the new name for the Home Service) during the 1980s and as late as 1992 (when The Spencer Affair was repeated to celebrate Francis Durbridge's 80th birthday).

Many of the early serials, in which the eponymous hero was played by a wide variety of different actors, have not survived the passage of time (although some still exist). However, almost all of those starring Peter Coke still exist; and these have been periodically repeated, from 2003 onwards, by digital radio station BBC Radio 7 (now called BBC Radio 4 Extra). In 2006 the station tracked down the then 93-year-old Coke for a half-hour interview programme, Peter Coke and the Paul Temple Affair.

Because no recordings survive for many of the early serials, in 2006 BBC Radio 4 began recreating them, in as authentic a manner as possible: as mono productions, employing vintage microphones and sound effects, and using the original scripts. In all cases Crawford Logan starred as Paul Temple with Gerda Stevenson as Steve, in place of the original leads. The first of these broadcasts, in August 2006, was a new 8-part production of Paul Temple and the Sullivan Mystery, originally aired in 1947. A new production of The Madison Mystery, from 1949, aired between May and July 2008, followed by the 1947 serial Paul Temple and Steve in June and July 2010. A Case for Paul Temple, from 1946, was transmitted in August and September 2011. The final such production to date was Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair, aired in 2013 (the longest of all the serials, running to ten episodes). Many of these new productions featured Welsh character actor Gareth Thomas as the head of Scotland Yard. Each of the new recordings was also released on CD.

Paul Temple's catchphrase, "by Timothy", first occurred in episode two of the first ever serial, Send for Paul Temple. As spoken by Kim Peacock in the 1940s serials, it made Temple sound like Wilfrid Hyde-White (it was a phrase Hyde-White frequently used, particularly in the BBC radio series The Men from the Ministry). Interviewed in 2006, Peter Coke said he hated the phrase, because even in the 1950s he thought it sounded old-fashioned.

In 1998, on the death of author Francis Durbridge, the BBC made a radio documentary about Paul Temple written by noted authority Professor Jeffrey Richards, entitled Send For Paul Temple (aired on May 20th, 1998), which included extracts from surviving recordings held in the BBC sound archives going right back to the first ever serial in 1938.

Film adaptations

Between 1946 and 1952 Paul Temple appeared in four feature films, each an abridged version of one of the early (hence, now lost) BBC radio serials. These films were distributed by Butcher's Film Service, a distributor based in the North of England (best known as a distributor of Northern comedies, including the fifteen Old Mother Riley films).

  • 1946 Send for Paul Temple with Anthony Hulme (1910–2007) (born Harry Idris Miller) as Temple, Joy Shelton as Steve and Maire O'Neill as Mrs Neddy.
  • 1948 Calling Paul Temple (based on Send for Paul Temple Again) with John Bentley as Temple and Dinah Sheridan as Steve.
  • 1950 Paul Temple's Triumph (based on News of Paul Temple) with John Bentley as Temple and Dinah Sheridan as Steve.
  • 1952 Paul Temple Returns (based on Paul Temple Intervenes) with John Bentley as Temple and Patricia Dainton as Steve. It was also released under the alternative title Bombay Waterfront.
  • BBC television series

    Francis Durbridge licensed the television rights in his characters to the BBC, who between 1969 and 1971 produced fifty two colour 50-minute episodes of a drama series entitled Paul Temple. It starred Francis Matthews as Paul Temple, and co-starred Ros Drinkwater as his wife Steve, with George Sewell as Sammy Carson. None of the television scripts were written by Durbridge.

    The 52 episodes, made over 4 seasons, were co-produced with ZDF, a West German television station based in Munich, making it the very first international co-production of the TV era. This made it practicable, in terms of the show's budget, to film location scenes for the series overseas (i.e. in Munich and other cities in West Germany). The episodes were subsequently dubbed into German, using German voice artists, for broadcast by ZDF to German audiences.

    Only 16 of the 52 episodes currently exist in the BBC's television archive with their original English soundtrack, and only 11 of these are in colour (for the other 5, only black and white telerecordings survive); the other 36 episodes are lost. Many of the missing episodes survive, in colour, in ZDF TV's archives in Germany, but with dubbed German soundtracks.

    The theme tune of the television series was composed by Ron Grainer, who composed very many tv themes for the BBC during the 1960s.


    Many of the British Paul Temple radio serials were novelized by Francis Durbridge between 1938 and 1989. Some of the novels in which the character appears were written in collaboration with John Thewes, Douglas Rutherford or Charles Hatten – and those with Rutherford were even published under the pen-name "Paul Temple", thus making the fictional writer a "real" one.

  • Send for Paul Temple (1938), Anthony Head (2007)*
  • Paul Temple and the Front Page Men (1939), Anthony Head (2009)*
  • News of Paul Temple (1940), Anthony Head (2008)*
  • Paul Temple Intervenes (1944), Toby Stephens (2011)*
  • Send for Paul Temple Again! (1948)
  • The Tyler Mystery (1957), Anthony Head (2006)*
  • East of Algiers (1959), Anthony Head (2009)* - based on the Sullivan Mystery but with locations and character names altered
  • Paul Temple and the Harkdale Robbery (1970), Anthony Head (2007)*
  • Paul Temple and the Kelby Affair (1970), Anthony Head (2007)*
  • The Geneva Mystery (1971), Toby Stephens (2011)*
  • The Curzon Case (1972), Anthony Head (2006)*
  • Paul Temple and the Margot Mystery (1986), Toby Stephens (2011)
  • Paul Temple and the Madison Case (1988)
  • Paul Temple and the Conrad Case (1989)
  • (*) Indicates also released as an audiobook on CD, read by Anthony Head or Toby Stephens

    Commercial releases

    All the complete surviving Paul Temple UK radio serials have been released on CD by the BBC Radio Collection, as has the 1940 Canadian remake of Send for Paul Temple.

    The 11 surviving colour episodes of the BBC-TV version of "Paul Temple" featuring Francis Matthews and Ros Drinkwater were released on DVD on 6 July 2009 by Acorn Media UK. A further 5 Black and White episodes were released in April 2012. Many unreleased colour episodes still exist in the archives of ZDF, the series' German co-producer, with soundtrack in German.

    In 2010 Renown Pictures Ltd, new owners of The Butchers Library, released on DVD the feature films Send For Paul Temple, Paul Temple Returns (a.k.a. Bombay Waterfront) and Calling Paul Temple.

    During 2011-12 all four Paul Temple movies were released by Renown. A DVD box set of three was released in November 2011; the fourth film, Paul Temple's Triumph, was released singly, initially to Renown Club members only, in March 2012, but has since become generally available.

    In February 2017 all the existing Paul Temple radio serials up to 1968 were released in 3 box sets, including the 1960 remake of Paul Temple and The Gilbert Case and the 1950 Kim Peacock version of Paul Temple and The VanDyke Affair.


    In the Netherlands several of the radio plays were recorded with Dutch actors and with the main character's name translated to 'Paul Vlaanderen '.


    In Germany, 12 Paul Temple radio serials were adapted between 1949 and 1967, each episode (in common with the BBC serials) ending with a cliffhanger. They were listened to by such huge numbers of people that they earned the sobriquet Straßenfeger ("street sweepers"), because they left the streets practically deserted whenever an episode was broadcast. They were performed by actors of national renown, including Luxembourg-born René Deltgen (who played the title role in 11 of the 12 series), Gustav Knuth, Friedrich W. Bauschulte, Pinkas Braun, Heinz Schimmelpfennig, Siegfried Wischnewski, Wolfgang Wahl, Günther Ungeheuer and Paul Klinger amongst others.

    All 11 surviving German radio serials have since been released on CD as audiobooks. Two short-lived comic series by the Aachener Bildschriftenverlag and the Luna-Kriminalromane are rare collector's items.

    In 2014, an abridged remake of the lost 1949 version of "Paul Temple and the Gregory Affair" was aired and released, followed by a live radio show in 2015 with the cast and the WDR Radio Orchestra, hosted by German Comedian Bastian Pastewka.

    In 2015, all four Paul Temple feature films were released on DVD.


    Paul Temple Wikipedia