A BBC Radio 4 comedy-drama series with a stunning cast, including Sheila Hancock, Mackenzie Crook, Penelope Wilton, Felicity Montagu, and Kevin Eldon, about a small town in the middle of Northamptonshire as it prepares for a talent night. North by Northamptonshire was originally broadcast weekly from 16 June 2010 to 7 July 2010.
In each episode, we catch up with Rod, the local supermarket manager (Mackenzie Crook), who shares rather more than is usual about his private life over the store's tannoy system. We get to know recently divorced Jan (Felicity Montagu) who's been trying unsuccessfully to 'find herself' with a trip abroad to an elephant sanctuary.
We are also introduced to driving instructor and forthright self-defence teacher Esther (Katherine Jakeways, also the writer of this series) and her gentle and put-upon Jonathan (Kevin Eldon) as they struggle to start a family, and we meet possibly the only happy couple in town, Ken and Keith, as they attempt to teach their pet whippets to dance for the town talent night.
This is a clever, funny, and touching series starring Sheila Hancock as the narrator, Mackenzie Crook as Rod, Penelope Wilton as Mary, Felicity Montagu as Jan, and Kevin Eldon as Jonathan. Also featured amongst the cast are the series' writer Katherine Jakeways, John Biggins, Rufus Wright, and Sam Cotton. Produced by Claire Jones.
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"Loved it, just wish the other series were available"
I stumbled across the final ever episode of this over Christmas, really enjoyed it. Shame only this first series is available to buy.
"If Under Milk Wood were set in England"
The script is brilliant, bitter sweet and hilarious. Sheila Hancock is perfect as the narrator, and supported by an excellent cast
There are so many little character vignettes. You can recognise yourself and laugh as the p*ss is taken out of you
You can listen all in one go or savour it an episode at a time
There are three series in all, so hopefully they will all be released in this format
"Modern comedy at its best"
Waddington in Northamptonshire is exceptionally ordinary, as are its residents at first glance. Bur Katherine Jakeways manages the seemingly impossible, finding the most incredibly funny but also, at times, sad gems amidst their daily interactions. This is truly fabulous - a top notch cast give great performances, but the script is the star here. Series 2 has already been broadcast on Radio 4 and I really hope it is soon available on Audible, too.
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