Afternoon delight as Jules peddles radio play

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THE career of Kelso-based creative writer Jules Horne continues on an upward cycle later this month when her latest work is broadcast on the prestigious Afternoon Play slot on BBC Radio 4.

The Hawick-born former English teacher has focused on the life and times of Scottish bicycle inventor Kirkpatrick Macmillan in Macmillan’s Marvellous Motion Machine which will air next Thursday, May 19, at 2.15pm.

The production team has assembled a star-studded cast of Scots acting talent to bring Jules’ tale of the intrepid and eccentric Dumfriesshire pioneer to the airwaves, including Gavin Mitchell, aka Boaby, barman of the Clansman in the cult television comedy Still Game, and John Kazek, who has appeared in Spooks and the movie Batman Begins, as the eponymous inventor.

“It’s based on the story of a man, nicknamed Daft Pate, who invented the pedal driven bicycle, rode it from Penpont to Glasgow and committed the world’s first cycle crime,” explained Jules.

That “crime” occurred in 1842 when Macmillan, a blacksmith from the village of Keir, was approaching the south side of the city, a Glasgow newspaper later reporting an accident in which a “gentleman from Dumfriesshire bestride a velocipede of ingenious design knocked over a pedestrian in the Gorbals and was fined five British shillings”.

Jules was inspired to write about her unlikely hero after seeing a velocipede at the vintage cycle museum at Drumlanrig Castle, where Macmillan worked at the smithy.

“His design was way ahead of its time, but he didn’t get the proper recognition,” she told us. “It’s been great fun to bring this story to life.”

In fact, just six actors, playing a range of intriguing characters, will realise Jules’ play which was directed by Rosie Kellagher and recorded at Castlesound Studios in Pencaitland for Catherine Bailey Ltd.

The same combination of writer, director and producer has previously brought Small Blue Thing to BBC Radio Scotland.