Saturday 10 January 2009
2.30-3.30pm BBC RADIO 4
“I have badgered David Cook recently to write more about Walter. He’d begun with the novels Walter and Winter Doves and then our two films but I felt there was further to go. A television series would have been fun but David eventually decided to bring things up-to-date with a new screenplay in which Walter has left the old long-stay hospital for the mentally-handicapped and is now placed with others like him in sheltered housing where a social worker guides their independence. No film producer or television channel was much interested. That’s how David came instead to write this short sweet radio play in which the aged Walter copes with his life’s challenges and helps others, as he always did. Walter is one of my heroes.” — Ian McKellen, London, December 2008.
More than 25 years after the initial film Walter made its debut on the opening night of Channel 4, award-winning writer David Cook brings the story up to date.
Again played by Ian McKellen, Walter is now a pensioner. Following the death of his mother, Walter spent many years living in a psychiatric hospital. When the hospital closed down he moved to a hostel, becoming isolated and lonely. Walker's support worker hears of a house-share with three others, but Walter is twice the age of the others.
This new drama reveals whether or not Walter will be accepted and looks at his plight in coping with independent living and living in the surrounding community.
Ian McKellen plays Walter and the cast also includes Anna-Marie Heslop as Mary, Edmund Davies as Tom, Malcolm Tierney as Mr Herd, Becky Hindley as Steph, Robert Lonsdale as Bernard, Gunnar Cauthery as Terry, Jill Cardo as Mrs Hall and Ceallach Spellman as the boy.