Sentiment by Charles Dickens adapted by Stephen Wyatt

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BBC Radio 7, 24 April 2010
A comic tale of love-conquers-all, which simultaneously takes a swipe at Members of Parliament and those presumed 'ladies of quality' who actually know nothing, "Sentiment" offered plenty of chances for Boz (Nicholas Farrell) to make sardonic observations on the narrative. He took a particular pleasure in describing the life of  "Cornelius Brook-Dingwall Esq. MP" (Gerard Murphy), whose office was strewn with papers, giving the impression to visitors that he was an incredibly busy man. Actually Cornelius did not do much, other than talk - as Boz told us at the very end of the adaptation, "he will not be the last person to prove a great deal more than he could deliver." Would that today's MPs would heed such advice, especially at a time of a hung Parliament during a major economic crisis.
Boz was equally cynical about the Crompton sisters (Jane Booker, Patience Tomlinson), owners of Minerva House, a finishing-school charging exorbitant fees to teach their pupils virtually nothing. However it provided a safe bolt-hole for Cornelius to put his daughter Lavinia (Tilly Ward) away, in the vain hope that she would forget about her love for Edward (Michael Muller). The sisters were overjoyed to attract such a well-to-do pupil, and described her as "charming" almost as soon as they had been introduced. Boz remarked that the use of this phrase depended very much on whether the girls could afford the fees.
However both the sisters and the MP's intentions were frustrated, as it turned out that Edward's real name was Theodosius, who happened to be the Crompton sisters' cousin. The sisters introduced him to Lavinia at a ball; and the two lovers, unexpectedly restored to one another, proceeded to elope and live in genteel poverty on the outskirts of London. Boz seemed almost joyful as he described how Theodosius dedicated himself to his writing (none of which ever got published) while Lavinia dutifully cooked for him. Although they had little or nothing to live on, at least they could be happy with one another.
This depiction of Victorian (bad) manners was directed by Sally Avens.