The City Speaks was a series of five plays for radio with accompanying films broadcast on the BBC website, all
of which had been inspired by Peter Ackroyd’s original story. “Ayshe’s Tale” by Alison Joseph was
set in contemporary London, and concerned an interracial marriage between a Turkish man and an Irish Catholic
woman. They were unable to have children, so the wife visited the House of the Virgin Mary near Izmir
in Turkey. On that visit she claimed to
have encountered the deity and therefore managed to give birth. Her Turkish in-laws seemed perfectly at home with the idea
– after all, she had visited a local landmark, rather than going elsewhere.
play reinforced certain stereotypes, such as portraying the Turks as highly religious, seeking regular advice from the imam
as to their future course of action (when will writers ever portray most Turkish as secularists?),
it nonetheless possessed a winning sincerity. Joseph suggested that belief could eventually bring its own rewards, irrespective
of one’s religion. What mattered most was a faith in the power of the Almighty. As the young couple at the center of
the action, Elif Yesil and Taylan Halici were particularly convincing.