BBC Radio 7, 3 April 2010
A tragic-comic tale from Sketches by Boz, ‘Mr Watkins Tottle’ told the story of the eponymous
a hero (David Collings), a diminutive man of four feet six inches in height, who tried and failed to find the woman of his
dreams. Egged on by an over-zealous friend, who promised to relieve Mr. Tottle of his debts if Mr. Tottle got married, Tottle
tried desperately to offer a proposal, despite being manifestly unsuited to the task. Sadly his suit failed; his beloved married
the local churchman, and Mr. Tottle had nothing left in his life but to commit suicide.
A tragic-comic tale of thwarted love, ‘Mr. Watkins Tottle’ demonstrated Dickens’
sympathy for life’s misfits, who tried and frequently failed to find some kind of security in their lives, but only
ended up wasting themselves. Mr. Tottle might have been a timid spendthrift, but we had to admire him for his tenacity in
trying to better himself, even if the effort proved futile.