Alice In Teesside

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20151105

Not Oxford, nor Llandudno, but Croft-on-Tees.

This is the 150th year since the publication of one of the most famous and internationally popular children's books of all time, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Since the book first appeared, biographers and amateur enthusiasts have pored over the stories hunting for clues and trying to find the key to unlock the secret puzzles of Wonderland and Lewis Carroll's life. The world of Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass have come to be almost entirely associated with Oxford - but in this programme, Simon Farnaby, the star of Horrible Histories, uncovers Lewis Carroll's roots in the North East of England.

Like Lewis Carroll, Simon Farnaby, grew up in Croft-on-Tees in North Yorkshire and went to school in nearby Richmond. Returning to the North East, he visits the Rectory Gardens where, as a boy, he scavenged in the bushes for Lewis Carroll memorabilia and meets the people determined to claim Carroll for the North-East.

Chris Lloyd introduces him to the Cheshire Cat and tells the story of the Jabberwocky's inspiration, The Sockburn Worm. Simon finds the grave of brave Sir John Conyers, the dragon's slayer on a lonely peninsula in the Tees. Bryan Talbot, graphic artist and author of Alice in Sunderland, makes the case for the Sunderland connection and Michael Wilcox, a relative of Lewis Carroll's Whitburn cousins, sets Simon his own puzzle to solve. Could Lewis Carroll have seen his first plays at the Georgian Theatre in Richmond?

Producer: Natalie Steed

A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.