Three original recordings of plays by Agatha Christie, thought lost for 50 years, have been rediscovered in the BBC Archives.
"Butter in a Lordly Dish", "Murder in the Mews", and "Personal Call" are being made available by BBC Audio, part of Penguin Random House, as a double CD and digital download under the title The Lost Plays.
The plays, first broadcast between 1948 and 1960, have been fully restored and will be published to coincide with the 125th anniversary of Christie’s birth.
Between 1947 and 1954, Christie was commissioned to write three new and original dramas for BBC radio. "Butter in a Lordly Dish" features Richard Williams as Sir Luke Enderby KC, whose infidelities lead him into trouble when he goes to meet his latest flame.
Williams also stars as Hercule Poirot in "Murder in the Mews", a 1955 adaptation of a short story where a young woman is found dead in her flat, the day after Guy Fawkes night.
In "Personal Call" a disturbing telephone call from a woman named Fay has consequences for both Richard Brent and his wife Pam.
It was assumed that all three of the plays had been lost, with the masters destroyed and no copies made. But freelance audio producer Charles Norton and BBC Sound archivist Sean Whyton located the plays in a quantity of uncatalogued material that had recently arrived at the archives.
Mathew Prichard, Christie's grandson and chairman of Agatha Christie Ltd, said: “The Lost Plays are a magnificent discovery. The atmosphere of the time is captured wonderfully and the sound quality is crystal clear. The plays are vintage Christie and are a hugely important addition to the canon.”
The radio plays will be released on 17th September, two days after the 125th anniversary of Christie’s birth on 15th September.