Mrs Lirriper was published by Charles Dickens in 1863 – 1864, it is a somewhat overlooked classic brought to life by Ellen Dryden. This 3 part audio drama has some great actors and stars Julia McKenzie, John Fortune, Jordan Clarke, Alison Skilbeck, Gus Brown, Jonathan Dryden Taylor, Matthew Lloyd Davies and Helen Jenkinson.
In Episode one ‘How Mrs Lirriper carried on the business’ we meet the big hearted Mrs Lirriper ably played by Julia McKenzie. Her husband has died and she has a boarding house to make ends meet and is determined to pay of her husbands debt which she eventually does.
A newly married couple rent one of the parlours but the cad leaves his wife pregnant and she eventually gives birth to a boy but dies of a broken heart. Mrs Lirriper and another lodger we get to meet (the Major a rather shifty claim though) Jemmy Jackman adopt the boy calling him after the Major, ‘Jemmy Jackman Lirriper’ and they raise him in the boarding house and eventually it is time for him to go to boarding school…much to the Majors distress.
In Episode two ‘How the parlours added a few words’ the major takes it upon himself to write some stories from his experiences and those of the others guests from the boarding house. We have such the amusing adventures of the Mr Mortiboy, the rather obvious haunting of James Murray and Elizabeth Gaskell’s tale of love, loss and obsession.
In Episode Three ‘Mrs Lirriper’s Legacy’ it’s time for Jemmy to return from boarding school, he is Gran, Mrs Lirriper and his God Father, the Major as they set off to France in search of a mysterious benefactor and he turns out to be the last person anybody could have possibly expected.
A great and very listenable audio drama. Julia McKenzie and John Fortune were great…well recommended.