The Elephant Keeper

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0120110606

Tom's life is suddenly changed when his master buys two elephants at Bristol docks.

In this adaptation of Christopher Nicolson's vivid and dramatic novel, the central story is about the relationship between a boy and an elephant.

But this is no whimsical love story - it's about power, and how power and violence distort relationships.

It's about how the rich abuse the poor, and how humans abuse animals.

And yet, this is also a simple moving drama, told by a young man, about the defining love of his life.

Tom is 16 when the story opens, a simple West Country boy, the son of a groom on a country estate in the 18th century.

When his master acquires a pair of elephants, the job of keeper falls to him.

Overcoming his fears, Tom begins a relationship with the elephants which will change the course of his life.

Adapted for radio by Elizabeth Burke

CAST

Tom....Stuart McLoughlin

Lizzie....Sarah Ovens

Mr Harrington....Bertie Carvel

Mrs Harrington....Claire Cage

Dr Chisholm....Richard Mitchley

Producer: Kate McAll

BBC Cymru Wales.

0220110607

Tom grows close to the elephants and gives them names, Jenny and Timothy.

In this second episode of our adaptation of Christopher Nicholson's novel, Tom grows close the elephants and gives them names - Jenny for the female and Timothy for the male.

But Timothy is approaching sexual maturity and having a frustrated and aggressive elephant on the estate proves difficult for Tom, though it provides much amusement for the other estate workers.

Then one night the elephants escape from their stables and run amok in the gardens of the Harrington Hall.

After that Mrs Harrington is determined that they should be sold.

Adapted for radio by Elizabeth Burke

Tom...

Stuart McLoughlin

Lizzie...

Sarah Ovens

Mr Harrington...

Bertie Carvel

Mrs Harrington...

Claire Cage

Producer: Kate McAll

BBC Cymru Wales.

0320110608

Tom and Jenny the elephants are happy on kindly Lord Bidborough's estate.

In the third episode of our adaptation of Christopher Nicolson's novel, Tom and Jenny the elephant are living happily on Lord Bidborough's estate.

The old man is eccentric but kindly and takes great delight in the relationship between the boy and the elephant.

But then he falls ill and his son, Charles, arrives from abroad to take over the estate.

Charles likes to drink and begins to use 'rides on the elephant' as a way of seducing local women.

Uneasy and guilty, Tom is forced to be complicit in this but is bribed by Charles to keep quiet.

Adapted from the novel by Elizabeth Burke.

Tom...

Stuart McLoughlin

Lizzie...

Sarah Ovens

Lord Bidborough...

John Rowe

Mr Harrington...

Bertie Carvel

Charles Singleton...

Matthew Gravelle

Producer: Kate McAll

BBC Cymru Wales.

0420110609

When Charles takes another young girl for a ride on the elephant, Tom is compelled to act.

When Charles, Tom's drunken master, offers to take another young girl for a 'ride on the elephant, Tom knows that he plans to rape her.

To save the girl he encourages Jenny the elephant to stampede.

The master is furious and lashes out at Tom with a metal hook, disfiguring him.

What happens next, in this fourth episode of our adaptation of Christopher Nicolson's powerful novel, propels Tom on a new and even more wretched path.

Adapted for radio by Elizabeth Burke

Tom...

Stuart McLoughlin

Charles Singleton...

Matthew Gravelle

Ellie...

Rebecca Newman

Alice...

Kate Sobey

Susan...

Grace Williams

Producer: Kate McAll

BBC Cymru Wales.

05 LAST20110610

Tom and Jenny have joined a menagerie in London, but Tom dreams of a better life.

Tom has fled to London where he and Jenny the Elephant are working in a seedy Menagerie.

A country boy, he is shocked by the poverty and filth of the city.

Then one day he thinks he sees his old sweetheart, Lizzie, in the streets and follows her.

We soon see what this woman has become but for Tom in his loneliness and isolation, this is love.

In this final episode of our adaptation of Christopher Nicolson's novel, Tom begins to hatch a plan to take the elephant back to her former home, the Indies.

At last, he has hope of escape - of escaping England, his position in the class system, and all the violence and abuse - thanks to the elephant.

Adapted for radio by Elizabeth Burke

Tom...

Stuart McLoughlin

Lizzie...

Sarah Ovens

Lord Bidborough...

John Rowe

Mrs Harrington...

Claire Cage

Charles Singleton...

Matthew Gravelle

Producer: Kate McAll

BBC Cymru Wales.