Molesworth: A BBC Radio Collection

Molesworth: A BBC Radio Collection

Down with Skool!, How to be Topp & more


A collection of BBC readings and dramas celebrating the much-loved schoolboy terror

First featured in five books by Geoffrey Willans, with cartoon illustrations by Ronald Searle, Nigel Molesworth is one of the funniest comic creations in literature. A superbly satirical chronicler of 1950s England, he influenced a generation with his anarchic take on life.

These wonderfully entertaining recordings show the self-proclaimed 'curse of St Custard's' at his very best. In Down with Skool! & How to Be Topp, based on the first two Molesworth books and read by Griff Rhys Jones, he gives us the lowdown on the Head Beak, masters, bullies and lessons - and offers his inimitable advice for tiny pupils on how to survive the first term.

Simon Brett's sequel, Molesworth, finds the onetime 'goriller of 3B' now all grown up. Middle- aged and still surrounded by many of the characters from his youth, he's as keen as ever to share his wisdom. Across four episodes, he presents a guide to the home, the office, the arts and leisure. Willie Rushton stars in this full-cast drama, with a cast including Clive Swift and Penelope Nice.

Topping off our collection is The Molesworth Report: How to Be Topp, a celebration and philosophical assessment - ahem! - of Nigel Molesworth by some of his fondest fans. 'I couldn't live with someone who didn't enjoy the Molesworth books', says the poet Wendy Cope. John Walsh, Sir Tim Rice and Russell Davies also pay tribute to the world-weary, ink-spattered schoolboy, whose comic misspellings, mangling of English and Latin and detestation of swots, snekes and oiks gave the world a cache of unforgettable images and catchphrases.


Down with Skool! & How to Be Topp
Read by Griff Rhys Jones
Abridged by Wendy Cope
Based on the books by Geoffrey Willans
Produced by Susan Roberts
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 13-21 August 1991

Molesworth - Willie Rushton
Grimes - Clive Swift
Louise - Penelope Nice
Gillibrand/Darryl - Robert Harley
Peason/Grabber - Bob Sinfield
Fotherington-Thomas - Phil Nice
Arabella/Carole/Lucinda/Lady Eiderdown - Chrissy Roberts
Written by Simon Brett and based on characters created by Geoffrey Willans and Ronald Searle
Music by Oonagh Bernon
Produced by Mark Robson
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 March-13 April 1987

The Molesworth Report: How to Be Topp
With Wendy Cope, John Walsh, Sir Tim Rice and Russell Davies
Produced by Penny Arnold
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 13 May 2004

Cover illustration by permission of the Ronald Searle Estate
© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the authors

Geoffrey Willans

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Simon Brett

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