BBC Radio 4, 8-12 April 2013, BBC Radio 4 Extra, 13 April 2013
Set in 1916, The Little Ottleys
focuses on a complicated love-triangle involving Edith (Juliet Aubrey), Bruce (Ifan Meredith), and Aylmer (Jonathan Firth).
Unable to choose between her two male suitors, Edith decides to adopt a sharing arrangement whereby she spends one month with
each of them. That might seem to solve the problems, were it not for the fact that Bruce keeps turning up at Aylmer's
house at the most inopportune times, ostensibly to pay social calls, but actually to check on whether Edith is 'behaving'
story's complicated love-affairs are complicated by the presence of Madame Frabelle (Jane Whittenshaw), who claims to be Bruce's
wife - even though Bruce vehemently denies it; and Miss Flummerfelt (Susie Riddell), a would-be actress who falls in love
with Bruce in the belief that he is still a single person.
The complicated plot is narrated by Ada (Haydn Gwynne) in detached tones; while she sympathizes
with her characters, she also understands their absurdities. They try to make the best of wartime London, where the
apparent calm of daily life could be ruined at any moment by fatal news from the Front. Aylmer is always tormented by
the thought of what might have happened to his son Teddy. We discover the son's fate at the end of the story; and it
is provides the father with good news, even though Teddy has not perhaps behaved in a strictly gentlemanly manner.
The Little Ottleys proves
good-natured fun; while the characters' absurdities are well identified, they do no harm to one another. They inhabit
a fundamentally benevolent world of central London during a more innocent time, when people's social and political worlds
seemed so much more stable than they might do today. The director of this 15-Minute Drama was Tracey Neale.