The Secretaries Of Juliet

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Broadcast
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20150112

20150112
20150112

2015011220150125 (R4)

Every year, 10,000 lovelorn people write to Juliet, Shakespeare's great romantic heroine. Some leave their letters in a postbox at the "House of Juliet", a museum in Verona. Others simply address them to "Juliet, Verona, Italy". Someone has to answer those letters, and the task falls to a committee of a dozen local women who style themselves "The Secretaries of Juliet".

Some of the letters celebrate love, but most of them are sad. The Secretaries, all of them volunteers, try to answer all letters, even those that are not written in Italian or English. Sometimes there is a backlog while they hunt for a local speaker of, say Russian. Despite the unremitting sadness of the letters (and in some cases their own personal experiences), all the Secretaries are incurable romantics by disposition.

Jolyon Jenkins travels to Verona to meet the Secretaries, and finds himself unexpectedly co-opted as a temporary secretary. How to answer the American woman facing marriage and asking how to be a submissive wife? What about the 15 year old girl needing to choose between her dull but safe boyfriend and the "bad boy who offers rampant lust"? Are the correspondents really looking for advice or do they just want empathy and reassurance?

Producer/presenter: Jolyon Jenkins.

20150112

Every year, 10,000 lovelorn people write to Juliet, Shakespeare's great romantic heroine. Some leave their letters in a postbox at the "House of Juliet", a museum in Verona. Others simply address them to "Juliet, Verona, Italy". Someone has to answer those letters, and the task falls to a committee of a dozen local women who style themselves "The Secretaries of Juliet".

Some of the letters celebrate love, but most of them are sad. The Secretaries, all of them volunteers, try to answer all letters, even those that are not written in Italian or English. Sometimes there is a backlog while they hunt for a local speaker of, say Russian. Despite the unremitting sadness of the letters (and in some cases their own personal experiences), all the Secretaries are incurable romantics by disposition.

Jolyon Jenkins travels to Verona to meet the Secretaries, and finds himself unexpectedly co-opted as a temporary secretary. How to answer the American woman facing marriage and asking how to be a submissive wife? What about the 15 year old girl needing to choose between her dull but safe boyfriend and the "bad boy who offers rampant lust"? Are the correspondents really looking for advice or do they just want empathy and reassurance?

Producer/presenter: Jolyon Jenkins.