6th Feb 1915 · 23rd Mar 1915 Podcast Storyline

Robert's Secret

98 min Play story

Robert Lyle is a popular Tyneside builder and landlord with a loving family but a dark secret

  1. 6th February 1915

    Scene 1 of 4

    1. A cheerful parting

      Robert must be off to discuss the new sheds and building work with Geoffrey, but he misses Joyce when away

    2. A deal is struck

      As the two men finalise their business, news comes in of a drunken factory worker climbing incomplete scaffolding

    3. A drunk on the scaffolding

      The men discuss how to get Danny down, or at least minimise damage if he falls

    4. Talking Danny down

      Inevitably, the drunken Danny suffers a terrible fall from the scaffolding

  2. 19th February 1915

    Scene 1 of 4

    1. Luke meets his father

      Robert seems unhappy to find his son reporting on the court cases

    2. Quiet heroism

      Robert doesn't even want his wife to know about his heroism as she has the temperance hotel on her hands

    3. Luke and the female cleaners

      Interviewing Esther, Luke finds himself telling her about himself - the polio that kept him out of the war, his father

    4. At home with the Lyles

      Joyce opposes plans to punish women found drinking: Luke is clearly very much in his parents' shadow.

  3. 27th February 1915

    Scene 1 of 8

    1. A pleasant awakening

      Having previously met Robert with his first family, Joyce and Luke, we now realise he is also husband to Violet and father to Esther and Hannah

    2. Life at the O'Leary's

      The O'Leary's are an affectionate bunch, though Robert's second wife and daughters bemoan that his building work takes him away so much

    3. Violet's plan

      Violet suggests Robert looks for a job at Marshall's now entrance requirements have dropped, and thanks heaven she only had daughters, not soldier sons

    4. Bad news in the pub

      Robert rushes out on hearing that the Bible depot has burned, fearful that his other wife, Joyce,is the woman caught in the fire


    5. Robert reacts strangely

      Robert's behaviour is mystifying to Violet

    6. Robert's secret

      Robert has been living a double life with both Violet and Joyce - who was burned in the Bible fire

    7. Joyce's sickbed

      Joyce asks Robert where he was "working away" when she was injured in the fire

    8. Luke confronts Robert

      The full facts of Robert's unusual life remain concealed for now.

  4. 4th March 1915

    Scene 1 of 7

    1. The rent collection

      Builder Robert lets properties to locals and to Yemeni immigrants, many of whom share beds in shifts

    2. The sick child

      The doctor knows Joyce from the Temperance Hotel, Robert lets Davy fall behind on the rent after he has paid the doctor

    3. Malooga for dinner

      As they break bread given to Robert by a Yemeni tenant, Joyce hints that her kindly husband could be more hard-nosed

    4. Robert surprised

      Esther tells her father that Hannah has fallen seriously ill

    5. Robert faces a crisis

      Taking the cue from the doctor who tended Davy's child, Robert tries to lower Hannah's temperature

    6. Dr Robinson awoken

      Robert describes Hannah to Dr Robinson as the daughter of a friend killed in the war

    7. Dr Amy suspects tuberculosis

      Seeing his second family, Dr Amy Robinson has divined Robert's situation

  5. 6th March 1915

    Scene 1 of 4

    1. Life as a scavenger

      Mary joins Esther and the female 'scavengers' in street cleaning. The two young women compare notes on their family lives; Hannah has recovered


    2. Lifting bins at dawn

      We learn Esther is walking out with Luke, but when she sees her father in Tynemouth, it looks like his deception is tightening to entrap him

    3. Mother and daughter confidences

      Talk of trust and of men who hurt women sits oddly with what we - but not the women - know about Robert

    4. Luke takes offence

      It turns out Luke saw Esther embracing his (and her) father on the street, leading to much confusion

  6. 10th March 1915

    Scene 1 of 3

    1. Robert's deception exposed

      Robert realises that the jig is up and asks Luke for the chance to tell Violet himself of his deception

    2. Dutch courage

      In the Ballarat, Duncan tries to save Robert from himself, but Robert considers himself beyond redemption

    3. Drama atop a crane

      Josseff offers Robert a helping hand, only to see him hit by a careening carriage: a gathering crowd misunderstands Josseff's intentions

  7. 11th March 1915

    Scene 1 of 7

    1. Luke in a bad mood

      Luke believes his father has lost his nerve about confessing his bigamy, not realising Robert is dead

    2. A dressing down for Luke

      Luke's editor suggests he learns to spell and punctuate properly before getting any grand ideas about reporting


    3. A bitter irony

      Luke investigates an accidental death without realising the victim is his father, Robert

    4. A horrific realisation


    5. Joyce must be told

      Luke tells Joyce her husband, his father, is dead

    6. More revelations about Robert

      At the undertakers', Luke tells his mother about Robert's second family

    7. A difficult task

      Luke is about to tell Esther that her father is dead, and that he is her half brother

  8. 19th March 1915

    Scene 1 of 5

    1. The aftermath of Robert's death

      Luke tries to soften the effect of his father's deception on his mother, but she is furious, and her faith does not help her

    2. Joyce on the warpath

      Joyce mistakes Esther for her husband Robert's lover, rather than his daughter

    3. The bigamist's wives meet

      An unbalanced Joyce takes out her fury about her dead husband on his second wife and daughters

    4. Joyce turns vengeful

      Joyce wants her husband's second wife and family thrown out of their house and onto the streets

    5. Pastor Surtees intercedes

      Pastor Surtees fails to calm Joyce's anger, but Luke brings a bombshell: Violet was Robert's first wife so Joyce's marriage is invalid and Luke himself illegitimate

  9. 23rd March 1915

    Scene 1 of 6

    1. Joyce is distraught

      Luke tries to find a way forward in life and to jolt his mother out of her gloom and her hatred of Violet

    2. Luke mends fences

      Luke blames himself for his father's death but he and Esther realise they have to make their mothers see sense

    3. A move towards a rapprochement

      Joyce repents her jealous anger and Violet also apologises - the two sit down to try and find a way out of the mess they are in

    4. Calling for back rent

      Not realising Davy was Marion disguised, Luke and Esther mistake her for his fancy woman

    5. Josseff tells his tale

      Josseff tells Robert's children that their father was proud of them and loved both of their mothers

    6. The wives reconciled

      Violet has a plan for the funeral and will let Joyce keep her house: teetotal Joyce is overwhelmed, unaware Violet's tea is spiked with alcohol

Back to [title]