Sketches by Boz by Charles Dickens: The Great Winglebury Duel

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BBC Radio 7, 20 March 2010
Sometimes one doesn't remember the fact that Dickens can be a very funny writer. This is certainly the case with some of his Sketches by Boz, which take commonplace situations and spin tall tales out of them. This is certainly the case with "The Great Winglebury Duel," which concerns two fugitives at a local inn - Mr. Trott (Peter Gunn) who tries to avoid fighting a duel over a woman with Mr. Horace Hunter; and Ms. Julia Manners (Julia Deakin), who comes to the inn in the hope of arranging a secret assignation with her young lover. Trott and Julia are lodging in separate rooms; and the local mayor Overton (David Timson) gets it into his head that Trott is actually Julia's lover. With this in mind, he keeps Trott imprisoned at the inn (against Trott's will) until midnight, when the unfortunate young man is sprited outside to a waiting coach with Julia inside it. The coach speeds off; and it is not until it is well away from Winglebury that Trott and Julia discover the mistake. However all ends well: Trott, an impoverished young man, finds that Julia's millions more than compensate for her middle-aged looks; while Julia enjoys the fact that she now has a toyboy all to herself (even if he wasn't the toyboy she had actually expected). The two of them get married and, it is hoped, live happily ever after.
Narrated with a sense of amused detachment by Nicholas Farrell, Sally Avens' production of "The Great Winglebury Duel" - from an adaptation by Stephen Wyatt - offered a diverting half-hour's entertainment.