Man on moors mystery to come to life as a play at Delph theatre

THE intriguing and unexplained death of a man found on Saddleworth Moor will be brought to life next year at a local theatre.

Max Dickens

‘The Man on the Moor’ has been written and will be performed by highly acclaimed actor-author Max Dickens.

The riveting real-life story captured the world’s imagination in 2015 after the body of a man was found on Chew Track near Dovestone Reservoir, Greenfield, on December 12.

Oldham police discovered the unknown man had travelled from Lahore in Pakistan to die a lonely death, with forensic tests showing he had taken strychnine.

But there were no clues to his identity – just return rail tickets from London Euston to Manchester Piccadilly and £130 in £10 notes in his pockets.

It took local detectives and the National Crime Agency 12 months of painstaking work to identify the man as David Lytton, a Londoner who moved to Pakistan ten years previously.

But why he came to Saddleworth and ended his life has never been resolved.

Now, Michael Powis and Tim Newbold who run ‘Saddleworth Live’ in collaboration with The Millgate Arts Centre in Delph plan to host the play next April.

They saw the play performed at the Edinburgh Fringe and met Max and his producer after the show.

They said: “We were intrigued by the production and really impressed with Max’s writing and performance and the way he took this mystery as inspiration for his play, which acts as a starting point to explore some wider themes of loss and belonging.

“The play handles the subject sensitively and it is very moving.

“The enthusiastic reception it had in Edinburgh and around the country from audiences and critics alike make it a show not to be missed.

“It just seemed right for it to be performed in Saddleworth and Max agreed. He told us how he had visited Saddleworth to research the play.”

Max re-traced David steps, travelling from London to Greenfield to The Clarence, believed to be his last point of contact, and then onto the moors.

“Max is looking forward to returning to Saddleworth to share his work with the people who live here and perhaps those who may have played some part in the investigation,” said Michael and Tim.

“Although local landmarks are featured, the play is viewed from the perspective of those left behind when someone goes missing – thousands go missing every year in the UK.”

Max raised money via a collection at the end of his shows in Edinburgh for The Missing People Charity.

The play will be performed at the Millgate Arts Centre, Delph, on Saturday,  April 21 – which would have been the dead man’s 70th birthday – and Sunday, April 22  at 7.30pm. Tickets are £10 each and can be purchased from Delph Library, phone: 01457 874644, or online at:


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