The Pantomime Life Of Joseph Grimaldi

Episodes

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012009120720110110 (BBC7)
20131223 (BBC7)

Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

The two-year-old Joseph Grimaldi is propelled onto the stage at Sadler's Wells by his ruthless, ballet master father, the Signor.

The infant Joe enters the somewhat sordid and perilous world of the 18th-century theatre, where he is drilled daily in the arts of mime, acrobatics and buffoonery.

And when the Signor finally dies of the syphilis that has threatened his sanity for decades, the nine-year-old clown Joe is forced to become breadwinner for Grimaldi family.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

The two-year-old Joe is propelled onto the stage at Sadler's Wells by his ruthless father.

Kenneth Cranham reads Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the world famous clown who became a superstar of Georgian panto.

An account of the world famous clown who became a superstar of Georgian panto.

022009120820110111 (BBC7)
20131224 (BBC7)

Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

The young Grimaldi begins to make his mark as a comic performer on the unruly stages of Georgian London.

But just when he seems to have finally found happiness with his new wife and child, tragedy strikes.

Joseph seeks consolation in work - and making others laugh - with a new comic creation that will change the face of clowning forever: the pantomime clown Joey, complete with full make-up of white face, blood-red mouth and blackened brows.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

The young Grimaldi begins to make his mark as a comic performer in London.

When tragedy strikes - the young clown seeks consolation in making others laugh with a new character.

Read by Kenneth Cranham.

When tragedy strikes - the young clown seeks consolation in making others laugh.

When tragedy strikes, the young clown seeks consolation in making others laugh with a new character. Read by Kenneth Cranham.

032009120920110112 (BBC7)
20131226 (BBC7)

Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

Grimaldi is at the height of his powers, and his extraordinary performance in the new pantomime, Mother Goose, makes him a fully-fledged superstar of the Georgian stage.

Yet, with the dizzying excitement of success comes a resurgence of his old melancholy, as he struggles to cope with this unexpected fame.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

Grimaldi's performance in the new pantomime, Mother Goose, makes him a fully-fledged star.

Mother Goose makes the clown a fully fledged Georgian superstar - but fame brings a downside.

Read by Kenneth Cranham.

Mother Goose makes the clown a fully fledged Georgian superstar - but fame has a downside.

Mother Goose makes the clown a fully fledged Georgian superstar, but fame brings a downside. Read by Kenneth Cranham

042009121020110113 (BBC7)
20131227 (BBC7)

Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

As Grimaldi takes the art of pantomime into new directions, with the use of satire and lampoonery, he becomes known as the Hogarth of the Georgian stage, drawing admiration from Lord Byron and the Prince of Wales.

But, though still only in his 30s, the years of physical comedy begin to take their toll on the body of the great clown.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

Still in his 30s, the years of physical comedy begin to take their toll on Grimaldi's body

The clown's lampoonery and satire take panto into new areas, but physical comedy takes its toll.

Read by Kenneth Cranham.

The clown's lampoonery takes panto into new areas, but physical comedy takes its toll.

The clown's lampoonery and satire take panto into new areas, but physical comedy takes its toll. Read by Kenneth Cranham

05 LAST2009121120110114 (BBC7)
20131228 (BBC7)

Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

His body crippled by the years of on-stage clowning, Grimaldi is forced finally to pass the baton to his son, JS.

But the young pretender finds the constant comparisons with his famous father hard to bear, and seeks solace in the hard-drinking, hard-living circle of the great actor Edmund Kean.

Meanwhile, his father is determined to fill the family's pockets with a final farewell performance; so, on 28th June 1828, barely able to stand on his crippled legs, Grimaldi staggers on to the stage of a packed Drury Lane Theatre.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

Grimaldi is determined to fill the family's pockets with a final farewell performance.

Crippled by his comedy antics - the superstar clown must bow out.

Kenneth Cranham concludes Andrew McConnell Stott's account.

Crippled by his comedy antics, the superstar clown must bow out. Kenneth Cranham concludes Andrew McConnell Stott's account.