Miriam Margolyes, Alison Steadman, Morwenna Banks, Jonathan Coy and John Sessions are back to breathe life into the dreadfully droll characters of Gloomsbury as a second series of the riotous comedy about the Bloomsbury Group returns to BBC Radio 4 from April. And joining them is the late Roger Lloyd-Pack, who stepped up to the mike before his sad death earlier this year, to play long-suffering husband Lionel Fox and amorous gardener Gosling.
Transmitted last Autumn to critical acclaim, Gloomsbury is written by Sue Limb, and is an affectionate send up of the infamous literary group whose arty and adulterous adventures dominated the cultural scene in the early 20th century. This second series continues to follow the fortunes of Vera Sackcloth-Vest (Margolyes), writer, gardener and transvestite, and her amorous antics among her close-knit coterie of writers, poets and artists.
Vera shares a bijou castle in Kent with her devoted husband Henry, but longs for exotic adventures with nervy novelist Ginny Fox (Steadman) and wilful beauty Venus Traduces (Banks). It may be 1921 – the dawn of modern love, life and lingerie – but Vera still hasn’t learnt how to boil a kettle.
Says Miriam Margolyes: “The first series was met with hysteria and delight from everybody and I’m 100% thrilled to be back playing Vera amongst this extraordinary cast. Vera is great fun to play because she’s a fount of sexuality and desire and simply doesn’t care how much sex is involved!”
Alison Steadman adds: “I look forward to every moment of the recording of Gloomsbury. It’s enormous fun to be playing someone posh – I certainly wouldn’t be given the chance to play something this posh on television!”
Affairs and attachments abound once more as we join the habitants and visitors at Sizzlinghurst Castle. In this series the aristocrats prepare for an uprising from the oppressed people of Staplehurst; argue over a shoot for Vanity Fair with acclaimed society snapper Manta Ray; seek advice from psychoanalyst Sigmund Void during a chance meeting on Hampstead Heath; and read poetry with the wonderfully modern scribes TS Jellitot and DH Lollipop.
During the recording of Gloomsbury last Summer Roger Lloyd-Pack said: “My characters couldn’t be more different as I play Lionel – an anxious aristocrat – and Gosling – a bluff peasant of dubious sexuality. I’ve always been interested in the Bloomsbury set and I think it’s a rather brilliant idea to make fun of them as they lived in this extraordinary, slightly snobby bubble.”
Gloomsbury is written by Sue Limb, produced and directed for Little Brother Productions by Jamie Rix (Not Going Out, My Hero, Harry Hill).
The second series of Gloomsbury will go out on BBC Radio 4 at 11.30am on Wednesdays from 2nd April 2014.