Alan Bennett's two series of moving and affectionate monologues delivered by the cream of British acting talent have become television drama classics. These poignant, perceptive and comic stories venture beyond their characters' suburban normality into lives of secrets, revelations, fears, crimes and passions.
For radio 4 listeners
- Alan Bennett: The Complete Talking Heads review by JD
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You rated this film: 3
If you prefer Radios 1 or 2 to Radio 4 do not order these. These are spoken biographies of desolate ordinary people sitting in small, ordinary rooms. They take you into the heads of people who are in a quiet place, mostly lonely. Within this place there are poignant insights into the human psyche and moments of very amusing irony. In my opinion by far the best is Alan Bennett's autobiography which although dour has descriptions of childhood (that probably will not resonate with many modern children) which are so painfully and personally funny that it is embarrassing to admit to identifying with them. I gave examples but decided to remove them as they were not nearly so funny from my description. Some of the biographies I did not like, particularly Patricia Routledge's monologue of a blindly opinionated petty busybody. No doubt if you know someone like this it is funnier, I found it irritating and skipped these. Maggie Smith's is I think the saddest, a tale of a missed life and Julie Walters' tale of failed trial over adversity also a heart sinker. Definitely one for an intellectual watch, not for escapism.