The Warden Audio Drama BBC 4

The Chronicles of Barsetshire by Anthony Trollope consist of The Warden (1855), Barchester Towers (1857), Doctor Thorne (1858), Framley Parsonage (1861), The Small House at Allington (1864), The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867).

This 12 year series was dramatised for radio by Martyn Wade for BBC Radio 4 between 1993 and 2005.

So here is the first in order of the published books. The Warden is  dramatised for radio in two episodes. It stars Alec McCowen as Septimus Harding who brings his character to life in such a wonderful fashion. Along with Juliet Aubrey as Eleanor Harding, Douglas Hodge as John Bold, With Stephen Moore, Janet Maw, Peter Howell and Jilly Bond.

Set in the fictional location of Barsetshire we meet the warm and gentle warden of the local Almshouse Hiram’s Hospital. A charity was set up some centuries ago and financially supports its twelve bedesmen and provides a comfortable abode and living for its warden.

Harding has two daughters one, Susan who is married to Archdeacon Grantly and an unmarried younger daughter Eleanor. It is when he is publicly accused by his future son-in-law, John Bold (out of public duty not spite) of receiving funds to which he may or may not be entitled. The Jupiter  a newspaper is involved publishing some personal attacks

This of course causes problems between Eleanor and John Bold the reformer but he relents after a heart felt plead from his wife to be.

Harding has the pressure from the archdeacon to fight but chooses not to eventually giving up the post to take a smaller living at St. Cuthbert’s, a small parish in the Cathedral Close, drawing a much lesser income than before.

This is a very gentle piece and takes a playful swipe at Charles Dickens or Mr Sentiment as he is called by Trollope…it is fun and is well worth a listen.


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