Vortigern And Rowena
A comedy drama based on a thoroughly unlikely true story, starring Alex Jennings and Lorchan Cranitch
- Comedy Drama
- BBC Radio 4
- Lorcan Cranitch, Alex Jennings, Rufus Wright, Ben Crowe, Bruce Alexander, Joanna Monro, Alison Pettitt and David Seddon
- Melissa Murray
- Marc Beeby
It's 1796 and a young antiquarian claims to have discovered a lost play by Shakespeare. He takes the play to Richard Sheridan, who agrees to produce it. By the second act, the audience are gleefully aware the play is a fake.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan is the producer. Fat, 50 and forgotten - that's how Sheridan feels at his worse moments. His glory days as the toast of the theatrical world are over; his self-deprecating wit is out of fashion. Perhaps this, the discovery of a lost Shakespeare play, will be an inspiration and break his writer's block. He is so desperate he doesn't want to investigate the play's authenticity too deeply.
John Philip Kemble is in the prime of life and at the height of his acting powers. He's proud, prickly, combative and cunning. For him, this production is a win-win situation. A theatrical triumph will add to his lustre - but, if it ends in disaster, he's let enough people know his doubts about the play's authenticity to be able to wash his hands of the affair.
William Henry Ireland is the forger, a young man of burning financial and literary ambitions, trapped as an apprentice to a legal firm - the perfect place to learn about old documents and how to forge them. It started as a way to please his father, an antiquarian bookseller and Shakespearian devotee. William forged the great man's signature and gave it as a present to his overjoyed father. And, from there, things just escalated.
- Laugh track
- First broadcast
- Wednesday 3rd March 2010 on BBC Radio 4 at 2:15pm
- Episode length
- 45 minutes