Autumn, 1646. The English Civil War is raging, and there’s trouble ahead for Sir John and Lady Anne Firebasket. There’s a Roundhead platoon camping out in the barn, a perplexed priest hiding behind the panelling and, unbeknown to the Firebaskets, their scullery maid Mercy is actually a disguised aristocrat (and Royalist spy) named Melissa Fortescue-Bottomley.
While Mercy steels herself to carry out a deadly mission, pious steward Tobias Thynne rails against the Devil’s vegetables and Father Francis takes to the rooftops in a borrowed nightgown for a rendition of ‘Ave Maria’. With the whole household suffering from severe domestic derangement, it’s a bad time for General Cromwell to show up – and then news arrives that the fugitive King Charles has also decided to pay a visit...
As confusion reigns, Sir John takes to drink, Lady Anne takes to her bed and the New Model Army take up their muskets. Will Firebasket Hall survive the hostilities?
Scripted by Sue Limb (Gloomsbury, The Wordsmiths at Gorsemere), The Sit Crom features a wealth of comedy acting talent including Joss Ackland as Sir John Firebasket, Miriam Margolyes as Mercy and Alun Armstrong as Captain Arise Higgs.
Produced by Jonathan James-Moore
Music by Colin Sell
Sir John Firebasket – Joss Ackland
Lady Anne Firebasket – Denise Coffey
Tobias Thynne – Clive Merrison
Mercy, alias Melissa – Miriam Margoyles
Father Francis/Old Thomas – Nickolas Grace
Slow Ned/King Charles – Chris Emmett
Gazebo Fogg – Jack Klaff
Captain Arise Higgs – Alun Armstrong
Posthumous – Nicky Henson
Lettice – Jane Whittenshaw
Counter Tenor – Peter Hayward
General Cromwell – Bert Parnaby
Colonel Thundery – Peter Howell
The New Model Army – The cast
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 6 October-10 November 1990