Written by Annie Caulfield

BBC Radio 4, 2:15pm on Tuesday 12th February.

Charlie Brooks stars as Dusty Springfield in Annie Caulfield’s latest play which premiers on BBC Radio 4, 2:15pm on Tuesday 12th February.

DUSTY WON’T PLAY is a reminder of the tangled paranoia of apartheid and the true story of Dusty Springfield’s refusal to play segregated audiences in South Africa. Shot through with the ozone charge of Dusty’s music, leavened with her earthy humour and straight talking, this play looks at the harrowing days of her short South African tour. Drawing on eye witness accounts, this drama recreates the 1964 South Africa that Dusty challenged – Nelson Mandela had just been jailed for life, liberals were spied on, detained and destroyed.

At the height of her fame, young, stylish Dusty Springfield was popular worldwide, having hit records and presenting the television show Ready Steady Go. Glamorous and outspoken, she took a sharp interest in politics but underestimated the trouble her personal stand in South Africa would cause. She had the support of her band and the promoter Dennis Wainer but much of the press and some of her own profession were against her. Back in England, Dusty was jeered at for being naïve or publicity seeking but she was stubbornly determined that Apartheid couldn’t be supported. We follow Dusty through long, lonely nights in South Africa and glimpse a little deeper into the world of this secretive, principled woman. The play isn’t a life of Dusty but cuts through gossip and speculation to the girl people who loved her remember, focusing on a very special thing that she did. She didn’t change the world but she did something.


Written by Annie Caulfield
Directed by Marilyn Imrie
Produced by Gordon Kennedy


Charlie Brooks( Eastenders and winner 2012 I’M a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here…)
Jack Klaff ( Robben Island Bible, Quasimodo)
Vincent Ebrahim ( The Kumars at No 42)
Jonny Freeman(M.I. High)
Danny Lee Wynter(Episodes, Luther)
Rasmus Hardiker (Lead Balloon).

“(In) Annie Caulfield’s nimble dramatization… Charlie Brooks proves a good match for the smoky cadences of Dusty’s speech and Jack Klaff is excels as courageous promoter Dennis Wainer…”

John Mount, Radio Times Pick of the Day

Writer ANNIE CAULFIELD on Dusty Won’t Play.

I always felt there was something cool and interesting about Dusty Springfield. I loved the fact that she developed her look from watching Jean Luc Godard films and was elegantly feisty in interviews. The story about her stand in South Africa, ahead of her time, seemed a way in to her enigmatic character. I was very lucky that people like backing singer Simon Bell and bass player Doug Reece, who knew Dusty, were so helpful. The detail that the black airport baggage handlers took their hats off to her when she left South Africa made me wonder about their story and re-examine the South Africa Dusty was challenging. Nelson Mandela had just been jailed for life; paranoia and repression in defence of apartheid were building momentum. Dusty was helped by a heroic and forgotten promoter Dennis Wainer who was part of a quiet resistance. The play celebrates Dusty and the people who make change happen, little by little….

Annie Caulfield has been adapting Jilly Cooper novels for television and working on original television dramas with Craig Cash and Absolutely productions. Your only Man, her acclaimed Radio 3 play produced by Absolutely Productions and Directed by Marilyn Imrie about author Flann o’Brien was staged as the headline event in a new Irish festival celebrating Flann. She has also been travel writing for newspapers and magazines and made a documentary with Tony Hawks about the imaginary land of Ruritania. Wherever she goes, real or imaginary, she listens to Dusty…