The Colliers' Cathedral, by Robin Brooks

Robin Brooks - The Collier's Cathedral

BBC Radio 4: Afternoon Theatre

Broadcast: Tuesday 22nd May 1984 @ 3:02 p.m.

In this very funny comedy, Sam Lender looks back to the turning point in his life which caused him to leave his poor family to seek fame and fortune. Much of the daily life at the time remains in the recess of his recollection, but one event he remembers only too well when he was 15-years-old...

Jacob, Sam's father, was an uneducated, unwashed alcoholic coal-miner with the manners of a wild beast (not too dissimilar from most of the blackened creatures he shared the long daily decent into the bowels of the pit). One day, his mother Lottie receives bad news - there was an explosion in the pit. The rescue team went down as soon as they finished their tea and found everything blown to smithereens. All that was left of Jacob was his snap box and sandwiches. After taking donations from other miners, Lottie is given a small leather purse which shows the collective opinion of his father's mates - one shilling and tuppence. Along with the shilling a week from the union, it won't be enough to feed her and her seven children, so she has to work - and work she does - day and night.

Soon, after turning 16, Sam wants to get a job. Being much older than his six siblings (the reason for age difference was that Sam's father worked nights in the pit when he was born), Sam wants to be a writer or a musician while his mother wants him to go down the Pit. When another accident occurs, the decision is made for Sam....

With Jon Strickland [Samuel Lender], Hilda Schroder [Lottie Lender, Sam's Mother], Helen Atkinson-Wood [Effie, Sam's Younger Sister], Michael Jenner [Thomas, Sam's Younger Brother], Clive Panto [Joe Trusock, a Miner], Geoffrey Collins [Josiah Crudley, the Rent Collector], Moir Leslie [Irma Grimley, Augustus's Daughter], Arnold Diamond [Augustus Grimley, the Pit Owner], Ellen McIntosh [Mrs. Grimley], Colin Starkey [Wickens, Grimley's Butler], Michael Bilton [Desmond (aka Dierdre) Turvey, Irma's Maidservant], Mark Rolston [Jack Cratch, the Pit Forman], Peter Tuddenham [Old Joss Watton, Archbishop of the Cotswold Order of Evangelic Knights], Jane Wenham [Beryl Crouch, Cast-off Sweetheart of the Village Idiot], Margot Boyd [Buxom Bertha, Bristol's Bawdiest Balladeer], William Eedle [A Miner], William Hope [The Miner's Mate], Louis Mahoney ['Dogbone', a Plantation Slave], Anthony Hall [The Leader of the Slaves], and Gary Beadle [The Young Jamaican Boy].

Lorne Gibson was the Whistler.

Directed by David Johnston.

Re-broadcast on Thursday 17th October 1985


....An excellent comedy - ND.

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