Please welcome Anne Marie from the Mitchell Classics Book Group – Dickens Champions – reviewing Dickens’ Women
Dickens’ Women Radio 4 Extra (First broadcast Sunday January 8th 2012)
I missed Miriam Margoyles’ Dickens’ Women when it was first broadcast on Radio 4 Extra on January 8th but happily managed to capture this on the listen again facility.
What a delight! In a well researched, insightful and beautifully performed little gem of a programme, Margoyles single-handedly takes us on a tour of Dickens’ women – of those in his family and immediate circle of friends and acquaintances and of the characters which so many of them became in his novels and stories.
In her colourful and character-ful voice, Margoyles, who describes herself as a “passionate admirer of Dickens”, brought his characters to life starting with Sarah Gamp and finishing with Miss Flite by way of Mrs Pipchin, Rosa Dartle, Miss Mowcher, Little Nell, Miss Havisham and many others. Her passionate admiration for Dickens allows for critical insights – how happy we all are to agree with her finding the ubiquitous young heroines based on his sickly and saintly sister-in-law, Mary Hogarth, as “icky” and in an affectionate little aside after discussing the long-lasting impact of an early amorous infatuation, she comments “actually Dickens never got over anything that happened to him”.
This was riveting listening and the piano themes linking the readings were wonderfully chosen and performed. Recorded in front of a live audience and winning a deserved standing ovation, I can only hope that there will be further opportunities to hear this programme and that somewhere within the bicentenary celebrations, someone somewhere will be able to persuade Miriam Margoyles to take it on tour. But please ensure that there are some Scottish dates.