Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Episode 1

Written by Michael Palin.

Keith Mabbut has completed his book on the Sullom Voe oil terminal but feels decidedly unfulfilled. Returning home to London he is determined to embark on a novel.

Keith is at a crossroads in his life. When he is offered the opportunity of a lifetime - to write the biography of the elusive Hamish Melville, a highly influential activist and humanitarian - he seizes the chance to write something meaningful.

His search to find out the real story behind the legend takes him to the lush landscapes and environmental hotspots of India. The more he discovers about Melville, the more he admires him - and the more he connects with an idealist who wanted to make a difference.

But is his quarry genuinely who he claims to be? Is he really a Gandhi-like leader of the people, a political mover and shaker, an enigma? These are the question Keith must ask himself. But as he soon discovers, the truth can be whatever we make it.

Read by Alex Jennings

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

Release date:

15 minutes

Last on

Tue 19 Jul 2016 02:00

Short stories to keep

Short Story Primary

The fiction podcast featuring the best stories from the UK's finest writers

4 Stories

4 Stories

Download these highlights and all our programmes via the iPlayer Radio app.

Sample our books and authors Clip Collection

Clips of Books Content

Interviews, previews and reviews

Books website

Books home

Get closer to books with in-depth articles, quizzes and our picks from radio & TV.