A few months ago I did a radio recording for BBC Radio 4 It was recorded in my favourite studio, Maida Vale. We recorded Mr Betjeman’s Class and I was young Paul, Boy 1 and senior boy 2. The story is about Sir John Betjeman’s life and the first transmission is on Christmas Day at 2.15 p.m.
Mr Betjeman’s Regrets was the second instalment and will be transmitted on BBC Radio 4 on Boxing Day at the same time of 2.15 p.m.
This will be a poignant experience for me because I played alongside Benjamin Whitrow who played the old Betjeman and he, very sadly, died after a fall at home near the end of the recordings. It was so sad and it was strange to hear that he had passed away when I had only been talking with him a couple of days before.
You may recognize Benjamin Whitrow from the 1995 BBC version of Pride and Prejudice although you will see from his IMDb link that his body of work is enormous. I am so glad I got the chance to work with him.
This was a situation which took everyone by surprise and the original transmission was cancelled. It was decided that Robert Bathhurst would continue the recording and the Christmas Day and Boxing Day transmissions were announced.
You will recognize Robert Bathhurst from TV series like, Cold Feet, Downton Abbey and many more dramas. He was a personal friend of Benjamin and it was apt that he should finish this play.
Johnathan Smith has written an article for The New Statesman which is about his love of Sir John Benjamin’s work and his regard for Benjamin Whitrow. Below is a copy of his piece.
THE NEW STATESMAN 4TH DECEMBER 2017