Barchester Towers Audio Drama BBC 1995

Grantly and HardingFirst broadcast on BBC Radio 1995 Barchester Towers continues where The Warden left off.

Again a stellar cast including Rosemary Leach, Michael Cochrane, Stephen Critchlow,
Stephen Moore, Jonathan Keeble, Peter Howell, David Horovitch, Patience Tomlinson,
Simon Beale, Alec Mccowen, Belinda Lang, Jilly Bond and Juliet Aubrey.

Alec Mccowen as the ever affable Warden or now ‘not’ Warden as he is and the brilliant Stephen Moore’s blustering, frustrated but kind Archdeacon Grantly.

The bishop is ill and the expectation that Archdeacon Grantly but it’s not to be and there is a wonderful scene of Dr Grantly sweating it out. On the one hand his father, the bishop is dying which he doesn’t want, on the other hand it’snot quick enough as the government is about to change and he won’t get the patronage of the current Prime Minister.

But it’s not to be and incomes new Bishop Proudie and his domineering wife Mrs Proudie. Followed by the odius Mr Slope.

Mrs Proudie is an interfering old trout causing problems for both the former Warden, Mr Harding, and the Warden to be Mr Quiverfull (what a great name!) and on top of this we have the chaplain, he’s both a hypocrite and sycophant.

The sickly Slope takes a fancy to Eleanor Bold (Mr Bold has since died, of what we don’t know) and hopes by interfering in the appointment of the Wardenship to engratiate himself with Eleanor but manages to upset Mrs Proudie which comes to no good.

He also spends his time with Signora Madeline Vesey Neroni played by the great Belinda Lang and Mr Slope cannot help himself and cannot stay away.  Next up Bertie Stanhope trys his luck with Eleanor Bold but to no avail.

And we also have the rather pleasant and scholarly Mr Francis Arabina fellow of Lazarus College at Oxford and he is the next suitor for Mrs Bold.

With Dean of the Cathedral having died Mr Harding is offered the job with a beautiful house in the Close, 15 acres of garden and a wonderful income. However Mr Harding considers that Mr Arabin be made Dean and he and the Archdeacon arrange it.

And with all settled again in Barchester Mr Harding returns to his life of gentleness and music.

Great stuff indeed.