Basil BBC Radio 4 2006

I have to say I am growing to like Wilkie Collins a great deal. This radio drama by Robin Brooks is excellent, so much so I could’ve really done with more.

It was first broadcast in 2006 and stars Julian Rhind Tutt as Basil, Robert Glenister as Mannion, Julie Cox as Magaret, Christopher Etteridge as Sherwin and Leslie Ashe as
Mrs Sherwin with Charlotte Lucas as Clara and Nicholas Rowe as Ralph/Passenger/Cleric. It was produced by Clive Brill.

Basil is the son of a peer of the realm and comes across as an all round good chap and gentlemen however after little more than a glimpse on an omnibus Basil falls head over heals in love with Margaret Sherwin, the daughter of a rich tradesman.

He is determined to marry the young (only 17) beautiful Margaret despite the difference in their class. So Basil plans with the help of Margaret’s father to Marry in secret. He is hoping that he will be able to reconcile his father who will be outraged at the match by and by.

They do indeed marry but Basil has to agree to wait a year before they can start to live as man and wife because of her youth. At first the all goes well and the secret works well but the oddly mysterious Mannion returns from Europe (Sherwins ‘man of business’)  but whose emotionless face has Basil puzzled.

On the last night of the year Basil can stand it no longer stand and goes to see Margaret who is much to his annoyance is out at a ball. He sees Margaret and Mannion leaving the ball and follows them only to find that having sex.

He rage and anger know no bounds and He attacks Mannion in the street and tries to murder him beating him to a bloody pulp but mutilates his face by pushing it into the road surface.

Basil find he had not murdered Mannion but that he is in hospital under an assumed name. Both he and Margaret catches typhus and die or so we think but Mannion is alive and haunts and stalks Basil everywhere he goes, Mannion has sworn to hunt him down to Doomsday.

Basil has looses everything, his wife and his family and on his brothers advice Basil flees to Cornwall where he is tracked down by Mannion a fight ensues and Mannion falls into the sea and is drowned.

Good stuff indeed.


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