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Publisher's Summary

Autumn, 1646. The English Civil War is raging, and there’s trouble ahead for Sir John and Lady Anne Firebasket. There’s a Roundhead platoon camping out in the barn, a perplexed priest hiding behind the panelling and, unbeknown to the Firebaskets, their scullery maid Mercy is actually a disguised aristocrat (and Royalist spy) named Melissa Fortescue-Bottomley.

While Mercy steels herself to carry out a deadly mission, pious steward Tobias Thynne rails against the Devil’s vegetables and Father Francis takes to the rooftops in a borrowed nightgown for a rendition of ‘Ave Maria’. With the whole household suffering from severe domestic derangement, it’s a bad time for General Cromwell to show up - and then news arrives that the fugitive King Charles has also decided to pay a visit....

As confusion reigns, Sir John takes to drink, Lady Anne takes to her bed and the New Model Army take up their muskets. Will Firebasket Hall survive the hostilities?

Scripted by Sue Limb (Gloomsbury, The Wordsmiths at Gorsemere), The Sit Crom features a wealth of comedy acting talent including Joss Ackland as Sir John Firebasket, Miriam Margolyes as Mercy and Alun Armstrong as Captain Arise Higgs.

Produced by Jonathan James-Moore.

Music by Colin Sell.


Sir John Firebasket - Joss Ackland

Lady Anne Firebasket - Denise Coffey

Tobias Thynne - Clive Merrison

Mercy, alias Melissa - Miriam Margoyles

Father Francis/Old Thomas - Nickolas Grace

Slow Ned/King Charles - Chris Emmett

Gazebo Fogg - Jack Klaff

Captain Arise Higgs - Alun Armstrong

Posthumous - Nicky Henson

Lettice - Jane Whittenshaw

Counter Tenor - Peter Hayward

General Cromwell - Bert Parnaby

Colonel Thundery - Peter Howell

The New Model Army - The cast

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 6th October-10th November 1990.

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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  • Matt F-S
  • 09-29-20

Is this ‘comedy’ ?

I have given up on this around half way though. The situations do not seem to lead to comedy. The characters while well acted are not overly engaging, and rather thin. I found myself twice getting more enjoyment out of working out the reverses words. There seems to be little entertainment from the characters, with the hero and protagonist in each just shells of the declared role. There is just no comedy coming from the characters voices, just supposedly from the characters role in the scene. I feel that this is aimed at those considering themselves a ‘cut above the rest’. As a normal person who just enjoys rich full characters in a comedy this is not my cup of tea.

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  • David Pugh
  • 12-21-20

Comedian history...

Sue Limb creates an exclusive event, which I continue to enjoy. I hope to hear more of her work.