BBC Radio 4, 14 January 2012
In this drama, part of the From Fact to Fiction series, disillusioned
wife Gloria (Tracy Wiles) decided to create a musical Fat Cats featuring her husband Tom (Orlando Seale), a financier
with a taste for the high life and a Russian lover Svetlana (also played by Wiles). The musical satirized Tom's
rapacious desire to make money for the sake of it, regardless of the consequences. However the main backer for the musical
was Tom himself; completely oblivious to its content, he perceived it as another way to make a quick buck, just like his father
had done when he invested in My Fair Lady.
The musical looked like being derailed by David Cameron's policy to put a cap on
the salaries and/or bonuses earned by City high-flyers. Tom no longer had the spare cash to invest in the show; and contemplated
the fact that he would now be downgraded from a high- into a middle-income earner. But salvation was at hand: the members
of the Conservative shires raised such strong objections to the proposed high-speed rail link from London to Birmingham that
Cameron was forced to rethink his strategy. Salaries were maintained at their existing levels, so as to ensure the Conservative
Party's future at the next election.
With new lyrics set to Gilbert and Sullivan's "When I was a Lad" by Neil Brand,
Fat Cats portrayed a hedonistic world dominated by money. Any beliefs in marital fidelity, or a socially
responsible government policy were rendered meaningless; what really mattered was that Tom could order foie gras
and champagne at one of London's most exclusive eateries, while Svetlana could spend his money on furthering her career as
a minor celebrity on a shopping channel. Meanwhile Fat Cats became a West End hit, financed by those people whom
it satirized. Wilson's scenario recalled Caryl Churchill's play Serious Money (1987), a satire of 80s yuppie
culture which became a cult amongst the yuppies themselves.
The three-strong cast - Seale, Wiles, and Stephen Crichlow as Gloria's buddy Sneep
- obviously relished their roles in Peter Kavanagh's production. Fat Cats might have only been fifteen minutes long,
but it certainly packed a satiric punch.