Wireless Theatre are very happy to announce our co-production with Loftus Media for BBC Radio 3.
Airing at 6.45pm on Christmas Day on BBC Radio 3, the BBC describe What Walls Hold:
“London. Tavistock House. 1851. It shaped Charles Dickens’s life and career.
Home to The Smallest Theatre in the World, Mrs Weldon’s Orphanage and an alluring French lodger called Charles Gounod, Tavistock House is reputable for having been the home of three eccentric creatives – the Mancunian painter Frank Stone, the world’s most famous writer and actor Charles Dickens, and Victorian England’s notorious amateur soprano and litigant, Georgina Weldon.
Within its walls lies a story of personal passion and chaos colliding with extraordinary creativity. Until it was destroyed in 1901.
With the staircase creaking after dark and smog pouring in through every chink and keyhole, Ben Gernon guides us through this remarkable house, revealing what the walls hold and uncovering its unusual tenants.
Alex Jennings leads a cast in this docudrama as we join the Dickens theatre company at rehearsals for their festive production of Wilkie Collins’ The Frozen Deep. We eavesdrop on Mr and Mrs Weldon’s crumbling marriage; witness Charles Gounod furiously composing in the upstairs bedroom with welcome interruptions from Georgina Weldon; and Catherine Dickens shares her story from the other side of that wall.
From extra-marital affairs, screaming street children, kidnap attempts and madness to amateur dramatics and shattered dreams, this is the story of one of Victorian England’s most famous houses.
Joining Ben around the house are Lucinda Hawksley, Professor Joanne Begiato and conductor Charles Peebles.”
Alex Jennings as Charles Dickens
Katherine Kingsley as Georgina Weldon
Ben Onwukwe as Frank Stone and Charles Gounod
Ben Crowe as Wilkie Collins and William ‘Harry’ Weldon
Jane Whittenshaw as Mary and Catherine Dickens
With thanks to Year 6 students at St Peter’s Church of England (Aided) Primary School, Henfield, and Year 1 students at Underwood Church of England Primary School, Nottinghamshire, for ensemble roles.
Presented by Ben Gernon
Produced by Alexandra Quinn
Sound Design by Jon Calver
Drama scenes written by Rob Valentine
Drama scenes directed by Cherry Cookson
Drama scenes produced by Fiona Thraille
Production Coordinator Sarah Tombling
A Loftus Media and Wireless Theatre Production for BBC Radio 3
Sunday Feature image copyright 2022 BBC Radio 3