Martyn Wade

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  • Bookcases

    • Martyn Wade

    • Maggie Steed (Read by)

    • Michael Cochrane (Read by)

    • Joan Sims (Read by)

    • Elizabeth Spriggs (Read by)

    • David Horovitch (Read by)

    • Charles Simpson (Read by)

    • Geoffrey Whitehead (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    The complete Series 1 and 2 of the historical comic sitcom about an embattled Victorian publishing company

    London, 1853, and the sedate religious publishing house of Spavin and Spavin is about to experience a radical shake-up. Vivacious actress Cordelia is on the hunt for a husband and has her eye on Gerald, one of the firm's partners, while her son Primus has ambitions to take over the firm. And when he does, it'll be out with the Bibles and in with the bestsellers - starting with Charlotte Brontë's latest blockbuster...

    Full of grand plans, he sets about wooing a wealth of other writers, including explorer Richard Burton, Charlotte Bronte and struggling novelist Wilkie Collins (who takes quite a shine to Cordelia). He even hires an assistant, Simeon, to manage publicity, and attempts to win a literary award by fair means or foul. But Primus's enthusiasm doesn't go down too well with Gerald's mother Edith (the firm's other partner), who is strongly opposed to the company publishing fiction. Worse, his willingness to spend the company's money has pushed Spavin and Spavin to the edge of bankruptcy...

    Hoping for salvation from financial ruin, Primus turns to luminaries such as Prince Albert and Charles Dickens - but could the crock of gold he's searching for be right under his nose?

    Written by Martyn Wade (The Little Ottleys), this delightful, tongue-in-cheek comedy stars Michael Cochrane as Primus and Maggie Steed as Cordelia, with a cast including Elizabeth Spriggs, Charles Simpson, David Horovitch, Joan Sims and Ioan Meredith.

    Production credits
    Written by Martyn Wade
    Directed by Cherry Cookson
    Music composed by Paul Mottram
    Violinist: Paul Mottram

    Cast
    Primus - Michael Cochrane
    Cordelia - Maggie Steed
    Gerald - David Horovitch
    Edith - Elizabeth Spriggs
    Reverend Brontë/Prosser - Geoffrey Whitehead
    Charlotte Brontë - Sarah Jane Holm
    Mrs Gaskell/Emily Brontë/Katie Joiner/Mrs Prosser - Frances Jeater
    Equity/Waiter/George Eliot/Thackeray - David Antrobus
    Richard Burton - Norman Rodway
    Wilkie Collins - David Timson
    Simeon - Charles Simpson
    Prince Albert/Smiles/Trollope - Ioan Meredith
    John/Rossetti/Cab driver - Stephen Critchlow
    Mrs Quirk - Joan Sims
    Lizzie Siddal - Becky Hindley
    Mrs Beeton - Rachel Atkins
    Beeton - Gerard McDermott

    First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 20 August-10 September 1998 (Series 1), 7-28 January 2000 (Series 2)

    ©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Martyn Wade has written numerous radio dramas including Alias George Eliot, Moeran's Last Symphony and The Healing of Sergei Rachmaninov. He penned the BBC Radio 3 drama Singles and Doubles, which won actor David Troughton a BBC Audio Drama Award for Best Supporting Actor.

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