Monday, 10 May 2010

An English Tragedy

While painting yet more 6mm WW1 Russians on Saturday afternoon, I listened to the Saturday Play on BBC Radio 4.  'An English Tragedy' by Ronald Harwood starred Derek Jacobi and proved to be very interesting. 

From the Radio 4 website:

May 1945: victory in Europe, and a Labour landslide. English traitor John Amery is arrested in Italy and brought back to London for trial. If convicted, he faces the death penalty. But his father is a senior politician; surely the Establishment will look after its own...

The play charts the weeks leading up to the execution, following John's arrest in Italy and trial in London. Like a real-life Sebastian Flyte, he clutches his teddy bear, lies, boasts and jokes as the day of execution draws inexorably nearer. Meanwhile his distraught parents try everything in their power to save him.

John Amery was the Harrow educated son of Churchill's Secretary of State for India, Leo Amery. His brother Julian was later to become a prominent Conservative MP. A troubled man, who had been expelled from Public School and bankrupted as a young entrepreneur, John became a passionate fascist. He broadcast pro-Nazi propaganda during World War 2 and ran a programme recruiting British POWs to fight for Germany on the Eastern Front. Unlike his brother Julian, John was a wild boy - bisexual, hedonistic and unstable. Why?

The play is available on the BBC's 'listen again' facility for the next few days at 

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