After World War II, Buckeridge submitted a script to the BBC which was accepted for transmission by Children’s hour.
The first radio play, Jennings Learns the Ropes, was broadcast on 6th October 1948. It was followed by Jennings and the Poisonous Spider and Jennings and the Friend of the Family.
It proved to be an instant success and a further five stories were commissioned. Its popularity continued with Jennings regularly topping the Children’s Hour polls. In all, 62 plays were written.
In 1949, Buckeridge sent a batch of the radio scripts to publishers William Collins hoping they would be turned in to a book. The publisher agreed and the Jennings novels were born.
The majority of the original radio plays were not recorded and have therefore been lost forever.
However, in 2002, David Schutte, a specialist dealer in children’s second hand books, published the original radio plays, using the original manuscripts. These were supplied by Anthony Buckeridge, with an introduction by Anthony’s son, Tim. Each play is preceded by a letter “written by Jennings” to David Davis, the producer of Children’s hour, as a prelude to the week’s broadcast. Schutte’s books of radio plays are illustrated by Val Biro.
Vol. 1 Jennings Sounds the Alarm Radio plays 1 – 7
Vol. 2 Jennings Breaks the Record Radio plays 8 – 18
Vol. 3 Jennings Joins the Search Party Radio plays 15 – 20
Vol. 4 Jennings to the Rescue Radio plays 21 – 26
Vol. 5 Jennings and the Roman Remains Radio plays 27 – 32