BBC Radio 4, 28 December 2013
Filmed by Stephen Frears in 1996,
The Van tells of the hilarious misadventures of Bimbo (Simon Delaney) and Jimmy (David Wilmot), who purchase a chipper
(a fish and chips van) and try to make a go of running an independent business. Petty rivalries abound; but they seem
to accomplish their task, until an unfortunate occurrence at the end, which forces them back into penury.
Eoin O'Callaghan's production
did not overlook the novel's social elements. The characters might have retained a basic joie de vivre, but
they did have to cope with the experience of living on the breadline. Some of them tried to alleviate their plight by
studying for exams, but there was no guarantee that their efforts would be rewarded with a good job and/or prospects.
The experience of running a fish-and-chip van is an appropriate metaphor for this kind of existence; living from day to day
on takings, with the perpetual threat of closure hanging over Jimmy and Bimbo.
Nonetheless the production showed the characters trying
their best to sustain their self-respect. Even if they had no money, they had one another - a quality more important
than anything else (even the pleasure of witnessing Northern Ireland qualify for the World Cup finals).