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BBC RADIO 4 Saturday Play

Saturday 28 April 2007


Joseph Millson starred as Jerome K Jerome, the author of Three Men In A Boat, in this witty, humane and sparklingly funny chronicle of his disastrous early career as an actor in the Victorian theatre.

Jerome K Jerome didn't want to be a writer. As a youth, he was watching a performance of Romeo And Juliet when it suddenly occurred to him that he was born to act, and that since acting consisted of making love in tights to pretty girls, he would devote his life to the art.

However, not for him the glamour of the West End stage. Jerome packed his travelling trunk and joined the second-rate touring companies of stock players, full of crooks, liars, madmen, charlatans, lost souls and no-hopers. They all survived on optimism and the odd shilling begged from the manager, while playing a gallery of characters with just one wig (worn forwards for tragedy, backwards for comedy).

Long out of print and dramatised by Judith French, Jerome's gloriously anarchic account of his brief and undistinguished career among these characters will be fresh to a radio audience who love him principally for Three Men In A Boat.

Produce: Jonquil Panting

BBC Radio 4 site