Sunday 10 July 2011


Brian and Titus Cast

Here I am surrounded by members of the cast of my play-cycle, The History of Titus Groan, based on the novels of Mervyn Peake, which begins this afternoon as 'The Classic Serial' on BBC Radio 4 at 15:00 and will run until Sunday 13 August.

Six months in the writing and making, produced by Jeremy Mortimer (who also directed with Gemma Jenkins and David Hunter) and with music by Roger Goula, the plays feature Luke Treadaway as Titus and David Warner as the Artist.

An impressive cast is headed by Miranda Richardson (Countess Gertrude), Paul Rhys (Lord Sepulchrave), James Fleet (Doctor Prunesquallor), Tamsin Greig (Miss Irma Prunesquallor), Adrian Scarborough (Flay), Mark Benton (Swelter), William Gaunt (Bellgrove), Claudie Blakeley and Fenella Woolgar (Lady Cora and Lady Clarice Groan)...

Cora and Clarice

Also in the cast are Olivia Hallinan (Fuchsia), Jane Whittenshaw (Nannie Slagg), James Lailey (Sourdust), Gerard McDermott (Barquentine) and, later in the series, Gerard Murphy as Muzzlehatch and Maureen Beattie as Juno.

The malevolent Steerpike is played by Carl Prekopp seen here recording the scene where he climbs to freedom up the walls of Gormenghast Castle in the first play, 'Titus Arrives'...

Steerpike climbing

The photo was actually taken horizontally with him crawling along the floor, but this is radio – The Theatre of the Mind!

And just to show that, even if it is radio, no effort is spared to create authenticity of action, here's Carl, aided by Studio Manager, Jennie Burnett, recording a scene at the beginning of the fourth play in which Steerpike is almost drowned in the moat of Gormenghast Castle...

Steerpike drowning

That's all to come... Meanwhile, if you miss today's broadcast, you can catch a repeat broadcast, also on Radio 4, next Saturday evening, 16 July, at 21:00.

Or you can catch it right now on BBC iPlayer!

In fact all of the episodes, as they are broadcast, will be available via the BBC iPlayer and remain accessible until the series is complete. Then, eight days later, it will be possible to download and purchase all six hours of drama to keep forever!

You can read series producer, Jeremy Mortimer writing about the production on the BBC Radio 4 Blog and here I am talking about what I believe is going to be a fantastic series...

Photos: David Hunter and Islay Bell-Webb


SharonM said...

Getting rather excited about this afternoon's first episode.

What an understated shirt you are wearing, Brian.

Arts and Crafts said...

15:00 local time... 16:00 for other european countries... I think.
First the F1 race (Alonso is in P3), after the race Titus... very good plan for this evening.

I think Brian that we all share your enthusiasm. Congratulations, this is the end of a hard work full of passion.

Arts and Crafts said...

I enjoyed very much your Titus. I don't have a good knowledge of british literature, but for me seems very different Mervin Peak from other fantasy authors, as long as I can understand from the movies.

Sheila said...

This got off to a very good start. What a high quality cast - bringing life to the excellent script!

JITARSE: I can't even begin to suggest a definition ...

Brian Sibley said...

Thanks, folks! :)

As for 'Jitarse', I think he is Gormenghast's Keeper of Latrines!

Phil said...

Congratulations, Brian. Good to have some fantasy in the Classic Serial slot, and good to hear David Warner, too.

Roger O. B... said...

I thought Tamsin Greig & the lovely Olivia Hallinan (difficult to imagine her with black hair) sounded as if they had spent to long with Miranda Richardson!
As the owner of some "interesting" leisureware I wouldn't presume to judge the shirt...BUT I treasure the old-ish joke:"Does this shirt look good on me, dear?" "It would look better on Ebay"

Gerard Neill said...

Dear Brian,
LOVED the 1st episode. Tamsin Greig is brilliant as Fuchsia.
I loved your earlier Sony Award winning version and nice to hear Mr Warner in both - sad that Stratford John's Swelter (DI Barlow) has flown to greener pastures - his performance was SO very much the thwarted Abiatha I encountered in the 1969 Penguin edition.
Heard for the 1st time the music and Goring reading of the Flying Bomb at the Brit Lib this morning.
Well done on the adaptation.
Very best regards.
Gerard Neill

Brian Sibley said...

Phil – Yes, I was thrilled to have David W in another of my productions!

Roger – Years of Groan in-breeding! Funny about the shirt: eBay is where I got it!! :)

Gerard – Tamsin was Irma but she was terrific, I agree, and I'm glad you enjoyed Part One!