Gloomsbury

Episodes

SeriesEpisodeTitleFirst
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0101The Trials Of Attempting An Elopement2012092820121024 (BBC7)
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Miriam Margolyes, Alison Steadman and Nigel Planer send up the Bloomsbury literary group.

A stellar cast of Miriam Margolyes, Alison Steadman, Nigel Planer, Morwenna Banks, Jonathan Coy and John Sessions breathes life into the colourfully chaotic characters of Gloomsbury, a riotous comedy about the Bloomsbury Group.

The six-part series from the pen of Sue Limb is an affectionate send up of the infamous literary group whose arty and adulterous adventures dominated the cultural scene in the early 20th century.

The series follows the fortunes of Vera Sackcloth-Vest (Margolyes) - writer, gardener and transvestite - and her urge to escape from the tranquillity of her rather cramped little castle in Kent which she shares with her doting but ambiguous husband Henry (Coy), who is 'something in the Foreign Office'. Vera's heart is forever surging with exotic passion for Ginny Fox (Steadman), a highly-strung novelist who adores her, or the beautiful but shallow Venus Traduces (Banks).

As the scene shifts from Kent to London, and Cornwall to Monaco, this close-knit coterie is divided by misunderstandings, jealousies and rows.

In episode one, Vera longs to elope to Mediterranean sunshine with one of her bosom chums. But her first choice, Ginny, is stubbornly impervious to adventure and Venus Traduces is fully booked for elopements until next April. Will Vera run off instead with the perky waitress at Lyons' Corner house? Meanwhile, what is Vera's husband Henry up to as telegrams fly between him and Archie Pinkerton-Poker at the Foreign Office?

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

Vera longs to elope to Mediterranean sunshine with one of her bosom chums.

Vera longs to elope to Mediterranean sunshine with one of her bosom chums, but which one?

A stellar cast of Miriam Margolyes, Alison Steadman, Nigel Planer, Morwenna Banks, Jonathan Coy and John Sessions breathes life into the colourfully chaotic characters of Gloomsbury, a riotous new comedy about the Bloomsbury Group.

0102Desperately Seeking Peace And Quiet2012100520121031 (BBC7)
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A stellar cast of Miriam Margolyes, Alison Steadman, Nigel Planer, Morwenna Banks, Jonathan Coy and John Sessions breathes life into the colourfully chaotic characters of Gloomsbury, a riotous new comedy about the Bloomsbury Group.

The six-part series from the pen of Sue Limb is an affectionate send up of the infamous literary group whose arty and adulterous adventures dominated the cultural scene in the early 20th century.

In Episode Two, the novelist Ginny Fox is visiting her friends Vera Sackcloth-Vest and Henry Mickleton, who live in a modest unassuming little castle in Kent.

Ginny has writer's block, so Vera tries desperately to provide peace and quiet, gagging the blackbirds and cloaking the gravel paths in velvet. But their tranquil idyll is shattered by the explosive arrival of Venus Traduces, hell-bent on recapturing Vera's heart with a series of appalling musical serenades.

Ginny's tiresome husband Lionel has followed her incognito with a portfolio of herbal remedies, but Henry manages to detain him in the pantry whilst Ginny and Vera dive under the covers to devour a steamy new book, Lady Hattersley's Plover by the intriguing proletarian writer D.H. Lollipop. The chums emerge flushed and enthralled, convinced that they must meet D.H. Lollipop and experience his dangerous animal magnetism at first hand.

Cast:

Vera Sackcloth-Vest - Miriam Margolyes

Gosling, her Gardener - Nigel Planer

Henry Mickleton - Jonathan Coy

Venus Traduces - Morwenna Banks

Mrs Gosling, Housekeeper - Alison Steadman

Mrs Ginny Fox - Alison Steadman

Lionel Fox - Nigel Planer

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother Production for BBC Radio 4.

Plagued by writer's block, novelist Ginny Fox visits Vera, hoping for peace and quiet.

0103The St Ives School Of Painting2012101220121107 (BBC7)
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The writer and transvestite Vera Sackcloth-Vest and her bosom chum, the novelist Ginny Fox, go down to St Ives in search of the writer of very naughty books Mr D.H. Lollipop. Their husbands, Henry and Lionel, accompany them, hoping to prevent their wives from succumbing to the dangerous animal magnetism of Lollipop, whose book Lady Hattersley's Plover has scandalized and unsettled them all.

Vera's persistent and flamboyant admirer Venus Traduces arrives, desperate to re-kindle their Sapphic passion. However she is distracted when, on the cliff path, she meets a thin man with a red beard who exudes animal magnetism. He informs her that his wife is away in London being painted by Augustus John, invites Venus to call him Dave, and ravishes her in the brambles.

Meanwhile, though Vera and Ginny seem to search in vain for Lollipop, he is always much closer than they think.

Cast:

Vera Sackcloth-Vest - Miriam Margolyes

Henry Mickleton - Jonathan Coy

Venus Traduces - Morwenna Banks

Mrs Ginny Fox - Alison Steadman

Lionel Fox - Nigel Planer

DH Lollipop - John Sessions

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother Production for BBC Radio 4.

Vera Sackcloth-Vest and Ginny Fox pursue DH Lollipop, who writes naughty books.

0104Trying To Avoid Unpleasantness2012101920121114 (BBC7)
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Vera Sackcloth-Vest welcomes the writer of naughty books, DH Lollipop, to Sizzlinghurst.

The gardener Vera Sackcloth Vest and her husband Henry are obliged to offer hospitality to the writer of very naughty books Mr D H Lollipop and his new flame, Venus Traduces - who formerly harboured a Sapphic passion for Vera.

The guests are accommodated in the dovecote as Henry will not have Lollipop in the house, in case the cook Mrs Gosling is exposed to impertinences. Vera is hoping that Lollipop will be able to improve her prose style, but instead he seems to take pleasure in trashing her garden and redesigning her study. Lollipop is intent on awakening Venus's blood consciousness but, alas, any educational impulse involving Venus is doomed to failure.

As Venus's passion for Lollipop begins to flag, she finds consolation with the gardener Gosling on the potting bench. Despite Henry's precautions, Mrs Gosling is exposed to Lollipop's impertinences, and the outcome is unexpected and inconvenient.

Cast:

Vera Sackcloth-Vest - Miriam Margolyes

Gosling, her gardener - Nigel Planer

Henry Mickleton - Jonathan Coy

Venus Traduces - Morwenna Banks

Mrs Gosling, Housekeeper - Alison Steadman

D H Lollipop - John Sessions

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0105A Desperate Attempt To Have Fun2012102620121121 (BBC7)
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Vera Sackcloth-Vest endures an emotional crisis at a picnic in Kensington Gardens.

The writer Vera Sackcloth-Vest has to tear herself away from her beloved garden just at the moment when her mammillarias are about to open.

She and her husband Henry have been summoned to London by her bosom chum, the novelist Ginny Fox. Ginny and her husband Lionel have realized that they have never had what is known as "fun" and they beg Vera and Henry to provide it.

Simultaneously, Vera's ardent acolyte Venus Traduces asks Vera to educate her, so she can be taken seriously by the Gloomsbury set. Exhausted by her efforts to educate and entertain, and haunted by the fear that her beloved Henry will soon be posted to the Balkans, Vera endures an emotional crisis at a picnic in Kensington Gardens.

Rescue arrives unexpectedly, and she escapes back to her beloved Sizzlinghurst, just as her mammillarias lift their saucy little faces to the sun.

Cast:

Vera Sackcloth-Vest - Miriam Margolyes

Henry Mickleton - Jonathan Coy

Venus Traduces - Morwenna Banks

Mrs Ginny Fox - Alison Steadman

Lionel Fox - Nigel Planer

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

Vera and husband Henry are summoned to London to provide 'fun' for Ginny and Lionel Fox.

0106 LASTHe's Got To Be Stopped2012110220121128 (BBC7)
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Vera braces herself for Henry's departure on a Foreign Office posting to Romania.

Vera Sackcloth-Vest is bracing herself for the departure of her adored husband Henry on a Foreign Office posting to Romania.

Her friends Ginny and Lionel Fox have come down to Sizzlinghurst to support her, along with her slightly demented devotee Venus Traduces. Whilst maintaining a veneer of cheerful serenity, Vera is inwardly desperate and hatches several intricate plots to detain him: an ominous dream, a succession of spurious telegrams, an extensive repertoire of ailments. She even attempts, disastrously, to persuade the cook to stage a staff crisis.

Meanwhile, down in the gazebo at midnight, Venus encourages Henry to resist all Vera's attempts to detain him as she will surely give in at the last moment and go with him to Romania.

Cast:

Vera Sackcloth-Vest - Miriam Margolyes

Henry Mickleton - Jonathan Coy

Mrs Gosling - Alison Steadman

Venus Traduces - Morwenna Banks

Lionel Fox - Nigel Planer

Mrs Ginny Fox - Alison Steadman

Mr Gosling - Nigel Planer

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0206 LASTTwo Broads Broadcasting2014050720151222 (BBC7)
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Vera is terrified when she receives a letter inviting her to do a lecture tour of America, and instantly begins a search for plausible excuses. But when Ginny asks her to help present a programme on BBC Radio about modern poetry. her anxiety is swiftly forgotten. Vera sees a chance to read one of her poems on the radio and share the limelight with those two wonderfully modern poets, TS Jellitot and DH Lollipop.

Henry warns Vera not to underestimate Ginny, however, who won't allow Vera to read anything unless Ginny agrees to it... and Ginny does not think that Vera's poem is modern enough to be in her programme.

What Ginny has not bargained for is the prudery and authority of Lord Reith who will not allow TS Jellitot to appear on her programme, because his American accent will corrupt the listeners and banishes DH Lollipop from Broadcasting House because of the constant sexual references in his language.

It falls to Vera to save the day by impersonating TS Jellitot and DH Lollipop live on air and then to get one over on Ginny by reading out her poem before Ginny can stop her. The broadcast falls apart, but Vera returns Sizzlinghurst the victor. Back at home, over a brandy or two, Henry reminds Vera about the prohibition movement in America. Reason enough for Vera to wriggle out of her lecture tour. Chin chin!

GLOOMSBURY - THE SERIES

Green-fingered Sapphist Vera Sackcloth-Vest shares a bijou castle in Kent with her devoted husband Henry, but longs for exotic adventures with nervy novelist Ginny Fox and wilful beauty Venus Traduces. It's 1921, the dawn of modern love, life and lingerie, but Vera still hasn't learnt how to boil a kettle.

Producer: Jamie Rix

A Little Brother Production for BBC Radio 4.

Ginny asks Vera to help her present a programme on BBC Radio about modern poetry.

0301All Very Hush Hush20150529

When Henry decides to work from home, his wife - the novelist and gardener Vera Sackcloth-Vest - is forced to rearrange her secret liaison with Venus Traduces lest Henry should discover her betrayal.

But Henry has more pressing matters to attend to. His boss from the foreign office is coming down for a secret meeting to discuss a breach of security at Sizzlinghurst and, as a result, Henry can't stop seeing spies round every corner. His paranoia is fuelled by the arrival of a journalist and a photographer from that hotbed of Bolshevism, the Observer newspaper, who have come to interview Vera, and by the unexpected visit of Ginny Fox and her Socialist husband, Lionel, who have come to do research for Ginny's new novel on the Foreign Office.

Everyone appears to be asking intrusive questions and Henry becomes very, very twitchy - especially when he discovers that the interviewer is the working class genius DH Lollipop and the photographer his occasional squeeze, Venus Traduces.

Now Henry feels properly betrayed and only Vera denouncing Venus in public can assuage his jealous rage.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0302A Slanging Match Made In Heaven20150605

Vera Sackcloth-Vest has promised her husband Henry, that her affair with Venus Traduces is at an end - but when Venus writes Vera a secret billet-doux, Vera is powerless to resist and makes hurried plans to meet Venus in London.

However, before she can leave Sizzlinghurst, Lady Utterline Amoral and Lytton Scratchy arrive unexpectedly to take a tour of the garden. Keen to see them leave, Vera's patience is put to the test in the face of Lady Utterline's snobbishness, insisting that Vera should follow her example and hold an annual garden party to raise money for the Red Cross.

Meanwhile, Henry is chased round the sofa by Lytton who, as an irrepressible gossip, let's slip that Vera and Venus are back together. His suspicions now confirmed, Henry insists on accompanying Vera down to London.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0303Relishing The Gentleman20150612

Having declared that she would rather die than take any of Lady Utterline's advice, Vera has decided to open her garden to the public.

Ginny and Lionel have come down to help without realising that Vera is planning to dress up as a man (to avoid being recognised), so that she can indulge in a secret liaison with Venus, who is planning to dress up as a Russian Fortune Teller - Mrs Pullova.

And all of this charade just to deceive Henry.

But from the moment Vera asks Ginny and Lionel to be co-conspirators in her plot by luring Henry away from the garden party, things start to go wrong.

Eventually, Henry finds out about the clandestine meeting in the fortune teller's tent and - despite an unwanted furore when the police arrive to arrest DH Lollipop for selling the vicar his pornographic novel (Lady Hattersley's Plover) - Henry manages to put a stop to Vera and Venus's elopement.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0304Women In Love And Men In Disgrace20150619

Ginny Fox has planned a trip with Vera Sackcloth-Vest to see her sister, Nesta Bell, at Charlatan House in Sussex, so that Nesta can paint Vera's portrait.

Lionel disapproves of the Bohemian lifestyle of Nesta and her husband Cliff and goes off to spend the weekend with Henry at Sizzlinghurst. Cliff is a rogue who spends half of his time away from the house living with his lover, Mrs Hutchinson. Nesta only tolerates Cliff's dalliance because there's another man living at Charlatan with whom she's really in love - Duncan Grunt. Unfortunately for Nesta, Duncan only has eyes for his homosexual lover, who also lives in the house, and whose name is Flopsy. And to top it all, Nesta's two children run up and down the garden without any clothes on.

When Ginny and Vera turn up at Charlatan House, Nesta makes an improper suggestion when she asks if she can paint Vera in the nude. Vera is shocked and wants to leave. Unable to share Vera with her sister, Ginny storms out too, and she and Vera return to Sizzlinghurst, where their mood is not lightened by the discovery of Henry and Lionel wrestling naked in front of the library fire as research for DH Lollipop's new book.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0305Tired Of London20150626

Henry finally gives up his job at the Foreign Office and embarks on a career as a writer. He lands a job as London Diary writer for the Evening Standard, a publication loathed by Vera because it maligned her when reporting on her elopement with Venus.

But Henry has writer's block and can't think of a single thing to write. He asks Vera to do it for him. She refuses, but does offer to accompany him up to London to see Ginny and Lionel Fox in the hope that something on the trip will inspire him.

Lionel and Ginny are having their own problems - Ginny feels trapped by the city and wants to escape to the country. Lionel suggests to Henry that they go to London Zoo as this has always been a source of inspiration to him. There, Ginny reflects on how the animals in their cages resemble the way she feels about her current situation and, when Henry pounces on the idea as a splendid subject for his article in the Evening Standard, Ginny throws a fit. She accuses him of plagiarism and storms out.

Vera and Henry are sitting in the cafe alone when the Prince of Wales happens to turn up with one of his mistresses and starts to flirt with Vera. Jealousy inspires Henry, but it takes Vera to save his reputation as a fledgling writer.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0306 LASTOne Day My Prince Will Come20150703

The visit of the Prince of Wales to Sizzlinghurst to admire Vera's garden has ardent Monarchist, Mrs Gosling, in a tizzy. It also leaves Henry on edge. and suspecting everyone of trying to assassinate the Prince.

With good cause it would seem.

Gosling's rampant Republicanism and grandmother's shot gun means that Henry has no choice but to lock the gardener up in the potting shed. Then two gun-toting Americans pop in unannounced and brandish their weapons on the front lawn - the poet Gertrude Klein and the socialite Mrs Wallis Simpleton.

Henry manages to disarm them just as the Prince makes his entrance. But when the Prince of Wales makes a play for Vera, asking her out on a clandestine date to to the theatre, Henry regrets getting rid of the guns.

If the Prince continues to threaten his marriage, Henry might have to assassinate the Prince of Wales himself.

Produced by Jamie Rix

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0401Digging The Dirt20170407

When Henry announces to Vera that he has invited Llewd George down to Sizzlinghurst to advise him on the best way to become a Labour MP, Vera flies off the handle. Can she get no privacy in her own garden? All she wants is to be left alone.

Not only does Llewd George live up to his reputation as a randy old goat (as Vera suspected), but Mrs Gosling takes affront at his politics and, after a row with Mr Gosling, goes on strike and storms off to live with her sister.

Meanwhile Vera has resorted to digging in the corner of her garden to escape Llewd George's clutches, only to be interrupted by Ginny Fox and a BBC producer, Miss Hilda Matthewson. There is a fascination between Vera and Hilda, much to Ginny's chagrin, and plans are immediately set in motion for Hilda to arrange a BBC tour for Vera talking about her books and her garden so that the two women can be together.

But telling Henry that she is going on tour raises Henry's suspicions. After all, it was only this morning that Vera craved solitude and swore she would never leave her precious castle again.

A Little Brother production for BBC Radio 4.

0402Your Very Very Humble Servant20170414

Vera and Ginny are off to Sandwich to get Mrs Gosling back. Henry must crack on with his biography of the King - Ginny orders Lionel to stay and help him. Ginny wants to call en route on Lytton Scratchy and Dora Barrington who have rented a cottage nearby. Ginny admires Barrington's boyish and independent spirit (and haircut) and thinks she is the epitome of the Modern Woman. Back at Sizzlinghurst , Lionel, a republican, tries to persuade Henry to abandon the biography of the King, but Henry needs the money, finds Lionel's interference annoying, and sends him off to walk the dogs. The peace and quiet is interrupted by the unexpected arrival of the Prince of Wales with Mrs Simpleton. The Prince wonders how the book is going and Henry assures him he it's all wonderful and fascinating even though moments before, he was telling Lionel that the King is the most boring man ever born. Then, walking in the garden, Mrs Simpleton meets Lionel. Not knowing who she is, he launches into an anti-monarchist tirade about Henry's talents being wasted on this mediocre king. When he realizes who she is, he has a panic attack and feigns madness to escape. Meanwhile Ginny and Vera have moved on to Sandwich, disappointed by what they found at the cottage. For all their claims to a modern lifestyle, Scratchy and Barrington displayed a nauseating example of women's enslavement. Talking of which, Mrs Gosling is persuaded to come home, but her marriage to Mr Gosling is more fragile than ever now that she knows he has slept with her sister.