Event Name The Chemistry Between Them
Start Date 20th Aug 2014 2:15pm
End Date 20th Aug 2014 3:00pm
Duration 45 minutes

Margaret Thatcher and Dorothy Hodgkin were two of the most influential women of the 20th Century. One was Britain's first female Prime Minister, the other won the Nobel Prize for her pioneering work in X-ray crystallography, and mapped the molecular structure of Vitamin B12, penicillin and insulin. Dorothy taught Margaret at University and they stayed friends, though Dorothy was a left-wing peace campaigner who was President of the Pugwash group and had been awarded the Order of Lenin.

Adam Ganz's new play The Chemistry Between Them looks at the relationship between these two impressive but very different women It moves between two timeframes - Chequers in 1983, at the height of tension between East and West, as Dorothy pleads with her former pupil to take nuclear disarmament seriously  as Cruise missiles and SS 20s are deployed in Europe -and Oxford in and just after the war, as Margaret, away from home for the first time, starts to make  her way in science and politics, culminating in working on a crystallography project in Dorothy’s lab.

The Chemistry Between Them speculates on how Dorothy s influence helped Margaret break from her small-town Methodist background, and how Margaret's scientific education from one of the world's great chemists changed her understanding of the world, and herself. It reveals a lesser-known side of Margaret Thatcher - the chemist, immensely proud both of her education from, and her friendship with, Dorothy.

The play is based on extensive primary research – amongst the many people Adam spoke to were Lord Tebbit, the late novelist Nina Bawden (who studied at Somerville with Margaret) and Professor Judith Howard FRS.  Adam also spoke to retired Chemistry Professor Ted Benfey to find out what might have been on Margaret’s syllabus in the 1940's. Aired to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Dorothy Hodgkin’s Nobel Prize, the play stars Catherine Skinner as Margaret Thatcher and Jane Slavin as Dorothy Hodgkin and is directed for the BBC by Nandita Ghose.

Adam has written several other plays for BBC Radio, most recently The Gestapo Minutes, which was  nominated for  an Audio Drama Award for Best Single Drama.

For more details contact Adam Ganz on 07740 861354 or email Adam.ganz@rhul.ac.uk

United Kingdom
Contact Adam Ganz
URL http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04dmxwj
Category other