Revolting People. Copyright: BBC
Revolting People

Revolting People

  • Radio sitcom
  • BBC Radio 4
  • 2000 - 2006
  • 24 episodes (4 series)

An Anglo-American radio sitcom set in Colonial America. Written by and starring Andy Hamilton and Jay Tarses. Also features James Fleet, Felicity Montagu, Penelope Nice, Sophie Thompson, Jan Ravens and more.

Character guide

Samuel Oliphant

Shopkeeper.   Played by: Jay Tarses

Samuel has had a lot of trouble with his shop. With the war and unrest, less people are coming into his shop because they keep being killed. The fact that he has two British redcoats living in his attic does not help things either.

His family are no better: his son is thick as two short planks, his youngest daughter is a revolutionary, his eldest daughter has married a completely charmless man, and his wife has left him to become a lesbian.

Sergeant McGurk

AKA: Sergeant Roy McGurk; Woody.  Sergeant in the British Army.   Played by: Andy Hamilton

Cockney Sergeant McGurk has travelled the world and has seen his fair share of massacres, having lost an arm, a leg, an ear and an eye in the course of his duty. He also has one nostril, but that is hereditary.

McGurk is very corrupt, always looking for a way to exploit those around him for money, sex and other perks. Samuel and Captain Brimshaw are his two most recurring targets.

Captain Brimshaw

AKA: Captain Walter Brimshaw.  Captain in the British Army.   Played by: James Fleet

Walter Brimshaw is the superior officer of McGurk and is somewhat ineffectual, with his sergeant often exploiting him for his own gain. He probably got his job because he is the son of a lord.

Brimshaw does have a weakness for women and has an affair with Samuel's daughter Mary, despite the fact she is strongly anti-British.

Cora Spriggs

AKA: Cora Oliphant.  Housewife.   Played by: Felicity Montagu (Series 1) and Penelope Nice (Series 2-3)

Cora is Samuel's eldest daughter. She is a very strict Christian and is constantly worried about doing anything which could be considered a sin. This of great annoyance to her husband Ezekiel, who never manages to have sex with her.

However, Cora has been known to go astray, having once had sex with another man called Abraham Smith and became pregnant as a result. Her son, Ezekiel Junior, has Abraham's ginger hair. She goes on to have even more children with even more men.

Mary Oliphant

AKA: Spartacus.  Pamphleteer.   Played by: Sophie Thompson (Series 1), Jan Ravens (Series 2-3) and Julia Hills (Series 4)

Samuel's youngest daughter Mary is a deadly revolutionary, and seeks freedom for her beloved America. She expresses her views as a secret pamphleteer, working under the pseudonym 'Spartacus'.

Despite her feelings towards her British oppressors, Mary begins to have an affair with British officer Captain Brimshaw.

Joshua Oliphant

Assistant Shopkeeper.   Played by: Tony Maudsley

Samuel's only son Joshua works as an assistant in his father's shop. However, he is incredibly stupid and completely hopeless in running the shop, leading to more worries for Samuel in terms of the store's future.

However, what he lacks in brains, Joshua more than makes up in terms of brute strength. He is a giant of a man at over seven-foot, whose favourite hobby is wrestling with wild bears. Joshua also tends to over-react when any man touches Mary.

Ezekiel Spriggs

Under Secretary to the Assistant Deputy of Weights and Measures.   Played by: Hugh Dennis

Ezekiel is a government official who is highly supportive of the British occupation of America. He marries Samuel's daughter Cora in the first episode of the series although Samuel wishes he hadn't as he finds his new son-in-law's habit of using expressions that he cannot understand deeply annoying.

Due to Cora's strict Christian values, Ezekiel soon wishes he hadn't married her either. He never gets the chance to have sex with his wife... even after she gives birth to a child that is not his!

Mrs Arbuthnot (Series 1)

Played by: Susie Blake

Mrs Arbuthnot is Samuel's most regular customer, but she never buys anything. She instead finds complains about things such as the price of one pea, even though both she and Samuel know she will never buy anything. Mrs Arbuthnot has a crush on Sergeant McGurk.

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