BBC Radio 4, 21 April 2013
Robin Brooks' version of the classic
tale updated the story to 1924, in which Frank (Paul Ready) falls foul of his father (Christian Rodska) who wants him
to follow in the family business; Frank, on the other hand, prefers to write Imagist poetry inspired by Ezra Pound. Frank's
father sends him north to Scotland to stay with his uncle Hilary (Stuart McGugan), a radical inextricably linked to the then-contemporary
cause of Irish nationalism.
Clive Brill's production
transformed Frank into a na´ve hero with the kind of blinkered view of the world characteristic of a Wodehouse hero.
Not that the story was comic: far from it. But Frank seemed more interested in writing poetry and falling in love with
Die Vernon (Denis Gough) than the political situation. Using this framework, Scott's tale was transformed
into a serio-comic picaresque tale, with Frank vying with Rashleigh (Joe McFadden) for Die's hand, and having a fist-fight
to try and resolve their rivalry.
hero of the tale (Mark Bonnar) now worked at a meat-factory; we did not find out too much about him, except that he wielded
considerable power in an unstable political environment. Walter Scott (David Tennant) narrated the tale with a
mixture of humour and sympathy; he could understand why the characters behaved as they did, but nonetheless appreciated
the story's implausibilities.
I have to say I enjoyed
this version of the tale immensely; a refreshing change from what I had expected.