The History Plays

BBC Radio 4 comedy. 5 episodes (1 series) in 2012.

Press Clippings

The final of Nigel Smith's The History Plays, a History of Blair in 9 1/2 Voices, was about the gap between image and truth. The brilliant premise here was that this was a conversation between two impressionists, Sue (Fiona Allen), waiting to do a BBC audition, and Blair (Jon Culshaw) whom she assumed was an impressionist who didn't want to climb out of character before being seen. "You've mastered the walk, like a peacock, both arrogant and anxious," she compliments him.

Culshaw doesn't just do Blair, he does him through the generations, redefining personality and accent. There are many lines which read like the pithiest of references: "No one had any idea you had principles until you invaded Iraq - on a point of principle." Though the play ends with the pair in a desert, stalked by grief, Blair remained a spooky presence, all spin with nothing substantive, an impression of an impression, which may have been the honest truth.

Moira Petty, The Stage, 13th March 2012

Jagger in Jail, the first of five counterfactual History Plays was very nice. Written by Nigel Smith, it depicted the drug-busted Rolling Stone in the Sixties sharing a cell with a post-office robber who turns out to be an old schoolmate. Banged up for three years, he's missed the revolution.

"The governor let D-wing watch Ready Steady Go! the other Friday, but there was a bit of a riot over Cathy McGowan's minidress, so never again," he tells Mick - who, he feels, gets far too much publicity. "There's wars and riots and marches all over the shop and what do we get in the papers? Your ugly mug every day," he says. "I feel that way about Herman's Hermits," Jagger replies.

Chris Maume, The Independent, 26th February 2012