The Fitzrovia Radio Hour in A Christmas Carol

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What ho chums! The Fitzrovia Radio Hour is about to begin, and this week they are bringing to you a splendidly spiffing rendition of Dickenses Christmas Carol, loving sponsored by Rathbones Gin... your Christmas friend!

Words by Danielle Morgan

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The thundering rumble of trains clanking along the lines ahead and the eerie flickering cackle of lights set the scene as we got to sit in on the radio hour right in the studio! Nifty, eh? Of course, when you're watching a radio production, you see everything that goes on behind the speakers of the trusty wireless, but that didn't dampen our spirits - unless we're talking about the gin; that was plentifully dampened with a stiff glug of tonic! Mmmm, who could say no to a Rathbones at Christmastime? The props, and the gin, were certainly not in short supply.

Tonight's radio hour was scheduled to be broadcast in the Old Vic, just down the road, but had to be moved last minute into the Vaults following a terribly shocking and unfortunate accident that involved the set spectacularly crashing to the stage floor and hospitalising Stanley de Pfeffel, set to play Scrooge for the 17th consecutive year. Drats! Well that nearly put the kaibosh on the whole production, but never mind chums; Ernest Andrew has been coveting the role for years and was on hand to save the day, curiously absent at the time of the accident. A jolly peculiar coincidence, wouldn't you say?

Following the slight hiccup of de Pfeffel's departure from the production, proceedings went ahead as planned, but Miss Haggard wasn't having any of it. Word on the street is Stanley and Miss Haggard have been enjoying a bit of the other, much to Mrs. De Pfeffel's expense might we add. But we don't like to wallow in idle gossip. Miss Haggard was clearly distraught about the old chaps departing from the production, but with only minutes to spare until she went live on air there was no time for all that.

The snow may not have been falling outside, but inside there was a chill in the air as the unscrupulous Scrooge spread festive misery over 3 gloriously performed acts. Tin cans, tinsel and ironing boards were wheeled out to create the sound effects, and of course it wouldn't be Christmas without a peck under the mistle toe. We think Beau Belles and Vanity Fair perhaps enjoyed 'producing' that sound effect a little too much. Wink wink, nudge nudge. But like we said, we're not ones to gossip...

PHOTO CREDIT - Geraint Lewis

Everything seemed to be tickety boo until a rather unsettling commotion stirred up towards the back of the auditorium; plunged into darkness smoke began billowing into the aisles and the cast didn't seem to know what the Dickens was going on.

Will De Pfeffel make his triumphant return? Will Beau Belles and Vanity Fair catch another smooch under the mistle toe? Will Ernest get his just deserts? Find out for yourself in the next instalment of Charles Dickenses A Christmas Carol, playing at The Vaults until 31st December...

PHOTO CREDIT - Sophie Says Something