Listening to the Generals by Adam Ganz

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BBC Radio 4, 16 June 2010
Based on his father's experiences during World War II, Listening to the Generals told the story of the secret recording of German officers who were captured between 1942 and 1945 and interned at Trent Park, a large mansion with extensive grounds in North London. This strategy provided the British with much valuable information both during the War and afterwards, when it was intended to be used as evidence during the Nuremberg Trials.
The play itself focused on the experiencesd of the central character Helen (Rebecca Saire), who took on the role of listener, spending up to eight hours a day overhearing the prisoners' conversation. She discovered to her horror that several of her colleagues were German Jews who had been forced to flee their homeland and had resettled in England. Many of them, notably Anton (Matt Addis) found their job almost unbearable as they overheard the details of Nazi policy discussed in a coldly matter-of-fact way by the prisoners.
While the play recounted the listeners' experience with a harrowing directness, it was spoiled on occasions by unnecessary anachronisms. Major Purfleet (Malcolm Tierney), the head of the entire operation, referred on one occasion to Helen missing her "loved ones" - an expression which according to the Oxford English Dictionary only entered current British English usage in the early 1970s. Elsewhere he talked about "getting inside the heads" of the German officers - another colloquialism which did not enter current usage until well after the War had ended. This might seem like nit-picking, but I do believe that dramatic characters should speak dialogue appropriate to the play's socio-historical context. The director of this Afternoon Play was Eoin O'Callaghan.