Bookcases: A BBC Radio 4 comedy drama

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2021
3 hours 44 minutes
The complete Series 1 and 2 of the historical comic sitcom about an embattled Victorian publishing company

London, 1853, and the sedate religious publishing house of Spavin and Spavin is about to experience a radical shake-up. Vivacious actress Cordelia is on the hunt for a husband and has her eye on Gerald, one of the firm's partners, while her son Primus has ambitions to take over the firm. And when he does, it'll be out with the Bibles and in with the bestsellers - starting with Charlotte Brontë's latest blockbuster...

Full of grand plans, he sets about wooing a wealth of other writers, including explorer Richard Burton, Charlotte Bronte and struggling novelist Wilkie Collins (who takes quite a shine to Cordelia). He even hires an assistant, Simeon, to manage publicity, and attempts to win a literary award by fair means or foul. But Primus's enthusiasm doesn't go down too well with Gerald's mother Edith (the firm's other partner), who is strongly opposed to the company publishing fiction. Worse, his willingness to spend the company's money has pushed Spavin and Spavin to the edge of bankruptcy...

Hoping for salvation from financial ruin, Primus turns to luminaries such as Prince Albert and Charles Dickens - but could the crock of gold he's searching for be right under his nose?

Written by Martyn Wade (The Little Ottleys), this delightful, tongue-in-cheek comedy stars Michael Cochrane as Primus and Maggie Steed as Cordelia, with a cast including Elizabeth Spriggs, Charles Simpson, David Horovitch, Joan Sims and Ioan Meredith.

Production credits
Written by Martyn Wade
Directed by Cherry Cookson
Music composed by Paul Mottram
Violinist: Paul Mottram

Primus - Michael Cochrane
Cordelia - Maggie Steed
Gerald - David Horovitch
Edith - Elizabeth Spriggs
Reverend Brontë/Prosser - Geoffrey Whitehead
Charlotte Brontë - Sarah Jane Holm
Mrs Gaskell/Emily Brontë/Katie Joiner/Mrs Prosser - Frances Jeater
Equity/Waiter/George Eliot/Thackeray - David Antrobus
Richard Burton - Norman Rodway
Wilkie Collins - David Timson
Simeon - Charles Simpson
Prince Albert/Smiles/Trollope - Ioan Meredith
John/Rossetti/Cab driver - Stephen Critchlow
Mrs Quirk - Joan Sims
Lizzie Siddal - Becky Hindley
Mrs Beeton - Rachel Atkins
Beeton - Gerard McDermott

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 20 August-10 September 1998 (Series 1), 7-28 January 2000 (Series 2)

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
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