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David Gooderson: Playwright, Actor
Drama Tutor

Hector (originally So Great a Crime)

The true story of Sir Hector Macdonald, the famous Scottish general, who was destroyed by accusations of liaisons with young boys

About the Stage Play


Hector tells the true story of the Scottish hero “Fighting Mac” – Sir Hector Macdonald – who rose from humble beginnings as a crofter's son through the ranks of the British Army to become a knight of the realm, hero of the Battle of Omdurman and Queen Victoria's favourite general.

His active soldiering days over, he was appointed General Officer Commanding in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), but soon finds himself in conflict with the high born elite who run the colony. Allegations of liaisons with young boys surface and Macdonald returns home. Rather than face a court martial, he shoots himself in a Paris hotel.

But was he guilty? Or was he the victim of a plot fabricated by an English Establishment, motivated by jealousy and snobbery, at a Gaelic-speaking upstart who got above himself?


A tragic thriller full of contemporary resonances… a brilliant polemic against our cruel desire to prejudge sexual scandals… Some bright young button at the BBC should scoot along to the Finborough and snap up this script.

Lloyd Evans, The Spectator

A cracking yarn and well-acted.

Robert Gore-Langton, The Mail on Sunday

A masterclass in the inventive craft of theatre

Eleanor Macfarlane, The Upcoming

Intense and thought-provoking drama skilfully directed by David Gooderson and performed by an outstanding cast. … This production should not be missed

Carolin Kopplin, UK Theatre Network

This is one soldier's tale you may not have known about, but one you will now never forget.

Kate Hudspeth, Bargain Theatreland


The premiere of the play was performed at the Finborough theatre in January 2013.

Awarded a substantial grant from Creative Scotland (CS's write-up), the play went on a national tour during autumn 2015 (tour's flyer) including the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh and Ambassadors Theatre, London.

Play Script

The play script of the stage play was published by Oberon Books, 2012 (now Bloomsbury).


Hector / So Great a Crime was written by David Gooderson.


The play is based on extensive research into newspapers of the period, both British and foreign, and all the relevant documents that have survived. Many have “disappeared” and the play reconstructs Sir Hector Macdonald's story in the light of the evidence that remains.

Finborough Theatre Production

Actors Stuart McGugan (Hector MacDonald) and James Woolley (the Governor of Ceylon) seated as if watching cricket in a scene from David Gooderson's play 'So Great A Crime'. Photo: Alex Marker. Leaflet front for national tour autumn 2015 of David's play 'Hector' (originally So Great a Crime)'Leaflet back for national tour autumn 2015 of David's play 'Hector' (originally So Great a Crime)

For credits, rest mouse over image

Performing Rights

For all enquiries about performing rights, whether professional or amateur, contact David’s Literary Agent:

Mike Sharland at The Sharland Organisation via…

No public performance of this play can be given unless a licence is obtained before rehearsals begin.

To Contact David