Monday, 7 July 2008

The Incomparable Witness

I don’t often listen to plays on BBC Radio 4, but this isn’t down to lack of enthusiasm. And when fellow blogger Juliet recommended me to listen to a play about Bernard Spilsbury recently, I hastened to make use of the excellent BBC iplayer.

‘The Incomparable Witness’ was written by Nichola McAuliffe, a capable actor who has begun to combine her career on stage and screen with crime writing. Spilsbury is an intriguing subject for study, a brilliant forensic pathologist who was a legendary expert witness, but who was also a deeply troubled individual. He ended his life by his own hand.

Spilsbury made his name as a witness for the prosecution in the Crippen case, and his evidence at the Old Bailey was central to the radio play. His authoritative testimony helped to destroy the credibility of the defence experts, and played a crucial part in nudging Crippen towards the gallows.

I’m fascinated by Spilsbury and his career, but I’m even more fascinated by the Crippen case. More about it soon.


Juliet said...

I missed the Ch5 programme about the case, which sought to prove that Crippen was innocent and Spilsbury complicit in fiddling the evidence (reviewed here and here which I'd heard being discussed on the radio that morning and had *definitely* meant (but inevitably forgot) to watch. Did you see it?

Martin Edwards said...

I did. The DNA-based theory strikes me as intriguing but hugely unlikely. More about this soon!