MACMILLAN’S MARVELLOUS MOTION MACHINE for BBC Radio 4 is the story of the Scots blacksmith who invented the pedal bicycle.
According to the story, he was known locally as ‘Daft Pate’ Macmillan for being a crazy inventor. Then he set off to Glasgow on his velocipede and prove them all wrong. Sadly it didn’t work out – he hit a small child and was fined for speeding. The plaque on his smiddy in Keir is poignant – ‘he builded better than he knew’ – and I thought he might appreciate a bit of posthumous recognition.
Lots of research needed – bicycle science, blacksmithing, Scottish and cycle history… and I was in touch with some wonderful velocipede experts around the country. The play was brought to life by a fabulous, funny cast:
Macmillan – Scott Hoatson
Machine/Burnie/Stott/Dalziel/Todd – John Kazek
Wull/Duke/Stott/Judge/Uncle – Gavin Mitchell
Catherine/Meg/Maid/Mother/Jeannie – Gabriel Quigley
Deef Agnes/Duchess/Old Mrs Mac/Mrs Scott – Isabella Jarrett
Wee Todd/Child – Leo MacNeill
MACMILLAN’S MARVELLOUS MOTION MACHINE was magnificently directed by Rosie Kellagher, produced by Marilyn Imrie, and recorded at Pencaitland Castlesound Studios for Catherine Bailey Productions. There’s a tiny clip over on the Open University page here, where you can hear Macmillan hurtling down a hill, without brakes…