The Masterson Inheritance. Image shows from L to R: Phelim McDermott, Josie Lawrence, Jim Sweeney, Caroline Quentin, Lee Simpson, Paul Merton. Copyright: BBC.

The Masterson Inheritance

BBC Radio 4 comedy drama about a misfortunate family. 18 episodes (3 series), 1993 - 1995. Stars Josie Lawrence, Phelim McDermott, Paul Merton, Caroline Quentin and others.

The Masterson Inheritance

The Masterson Inheritance

All three series of the improvised family saga starring Paul Merton, Josie Lawrence, Caroline Quentin and others - plus two special Christmas episodes.

Based entirely on audience suggestions, this hysterically funny historical drama tells the thrilling extended story of an aristocratic family at war with itself. From Ancient Rome to 1920s Hollywood, we follow the Mastersons' turbulent history across the centuries, as their fortunes wax and wane, and their fates hang on objects as diverse and unlikely as a tumble dryer, a rabbit's foot and a pair of Siamese twins.

In these three series, their adventures include setting sail across the Atlantic (with a cargo of dangerous sheep), mucking out at the court of King Arthur, becoming embroiled in murder and intrigue aboard a luxury cruiser and running away to join a Victorian travelling circus. There's family revenge in the Wild West over dodgy dental work; the medieval Mastersons face land struggles and an overcrowded castle; and in the Edwardian era, suffragettes split the family, sparking drama at the races. Plus, in two Christmas specials, the Mastersons face repercussions from a child's innocent gift, and the family's ancient culture reveals some curious customs.

First released: Thursday 16th July 2020

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