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The Penny Dreadfuls
...The Brothers Faversham.

The Dreadfuls debut radio series on BBC7, “The Brothers Faversham”, documenting the adventures of the four brothers Horatius, Theseus, Leonidas and Augustus.

Original broadcast dates:
Part 1: Friday 11 January 2008, 11.30pm
Part 2: Friday 18 January 2008, 11.30pm
Part 3: Friday 25 January 2008, 11.30pm
Part 4: Friday 1 February 2008, 11.30pm

Read an exclusive interview with The Penny Dreadfuls below.

The Penny Dreadfuls are a sketch group of three who specialise in Victorian themed comedy. They have two hugely successful Edinburgh festivals under their belt where they started out as relative unknowns to secure many 5-star reviews from critics and a loyal fan base. This year the group make their debut on BBC 7 with a brand new four part radio series that tells the extraordinary life stories of four Faversham brothers - Horatius, Victorian Britain's most decorated soldier; Theseus, a detective even more famous than Sherlock Holmes; Leonidas, an explorer who left no corner of the Empire untouched and Augustus, the man who became Victorian Britain's most celebrated magician.

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
The Penny Dreadfuls, swashbuckling

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
The Penny Dreadfuls looking moody on stage

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
In civvies, left to right Humphrey, David and Thom

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
Fun Boy Three

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
Performing at the Radio Theatre

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey
"natural born goal scorer" Humphrey Ker (in his own words)

The Penny Dreadfuls: Thom
"bendy wino clown monkey" Thom Tuck (in his own words)

The Penny Dreadfuls: David
"Fairly generic looking" David Reed (in his own words)

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
Which page are we on again?

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom
A rare moment of levity

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey and David
I think you'll find that's my line

The Penny Dreadfuls: Humphrey, David and Thom with Miles Jupp and Ingrid Oliver
The PDs with Ingrid Oliver as Alexandra Faversham (second from right) and Miles Jupp as the narrator(extreme right)

Photographs Copyright &copy Idil Sukan 2008.
Used with permission.
When did you form The Penny Dreadfuls

Thom: Summer 2005 when we were all in The Improverts (legendary Edinburgh improv troupe), we got hired to promote a terrible book and ended up spending a load of time in Travelodge's doing impressions of the Tory front bench (Howard & Letwin specifically) and one thing lead to another.

You've performed as The Penny Dreadfuls at two Edinburgh Festivals - what were the high points and low points of that time?

Humphrey: High - The first time we sold out our 2006 show, about a week into the run. Being accosted by a family of five who said we were their festival favourites.

Low - Failure to secure 8 picture deal with any of the Hollywood studios and extremely hot costumes.

Thom: High - I think the high point of the first festival may have come at Spank! (late night comedy at the underbelly) when we decided that for most of our allotted time we would reel out a synchronised punching sequence to the theme tune from Airwolf. It went well.

Low - hmmm. it's probably at my second fringe (so four fringes before Aeneas Faversham) I was working 35 hours a week, reviewing four shows a day and performing at least twice a day. at the end I had a complete physical breakdown. could do nothing for three days.

David: High - My highest point was probably sneaking into the balcony of a show last year. I was about 12 foot up I'd say.

Low - Falling asleep on a sofa. They're about a foot, foot and a half. It's been a crazy 2 years.

Will you be performing again at Edinburgh this year?

Humphrey: Indeed. Look out for Aeneas Faversham Forever. It cannot help but be mega.

Thom: I genuinely couldn't imagine missing it.

David: That's the plan. It'll be our third Aeneas Faversham show and we're hoping to bring something a little different to the Fringe this year. Still Victorian, but a little bit different.

Who are your comedy heroes and inspirations?

Humphrey: The Goons.

Thom: Palin, Chapman, Cleese, Atkinson, Mayall. I love Bill Hicks, to an unhealthy degree perhaps

David: I grew up watching a lot of Python, Blackadder, The Young Ones... anything and everything that was on really. I'm a huge fan of The Goons and Pete and Dud.

Why does the Victorian era appeal to you so much?

Humphrey: It was the last period in British history, when people still really believed in both science and magic. Plus it was period in which Britain still led the world in just about every conceivable facet of life from the arts and industry to insanity and superstition. Top stuff.

Thom: It provides us with such a rich backdrop against which to weave our silliness.

David: There's something about it that lends such a rich palette for us to play with and is simultaneously familiar and enjoyable for an audience.

Who is your favourite Victorian and why?

Humphrey: Isambard Kingdom Brunel. He perfectly embodies the Victorians' greatest quality: Boundless confidence in their own ability.

Thom: Sir Joseph Bazalgette. He built London's sewers. The pumping stations are amazing.

David: Charles Darwin for proposing the theory of evolution and then marrying his cousin. Brilliant.

Who is your favourite fictional Victorian and why?

Humphrey: Sherlock Holmes. The books, films and even computer games of Conan Doyle's detective God had more of an influence on me than anything else growing up. They were an excellent introduction to the world, and I've done my level best my whole life to act as much like Holmes as possible

Thom: The Invisible Man, in the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

David: I'd have to say Harry Flashman.

What film do you think has most successfully evoked the Victorian period?

Humphrey: Either Shanghai Knights or The Four Feathers

David: Something sinister and fun like the Basil Rathbone Hound Of The Baskervilles or, if you want something worthier, then maybe Wilde or The Muppet Christmas Carol

Thom: What Dave said.

Who are the Faversham family?

Humphrey: The Faversham family were a powerful clan of Kentish aristocrats, who embodied, more than any other, the ideals and outlooks of the Victorian era. They stand, in the history books, bestride period like Victorian colossi

Thom: They are a family of fin-de-siecle overachievers, invariably embroiled in intrigue and international derring-don't.

David: The Favershams have lived in Kent for generations. Our stories pick up on the offspring of Digby Faversham, a wealthy aristo, and his wife Alexandra, one of The British Empire's sexiest and deadliest secret agents, who also gives birth a lot.

This series tells the stories of 4 brothers - who is your favourite?

Humphrey: Of the four brothers featured, my favourite is Theseus, seeing as how he's most like my hero Sherlock Holmes.

Thom: Augustus. he's a ludicrous character, but he still managed to evoke a great deal of sympathy from the audience

Do they have any more siblings?

Humphrey: There were a great many Faversham children, both boys and girls, although there is often a degree of uncertainty as to which were officially recognised by the family and which were not

Thom: More than is strictly feasible.

David: The Faversham family is simply enormous. Through this series you'll only hear about the first four brothers.

What should we expect with your debut radio comedy series?

Humphrey: Rollicking adventure, illuminating historical detail and, hopefully, laughs

David: It's very hard to describe your own work. Something between everything you've heard before and nothing you've ever conceived of.

For more information please visit The Penny Dreadfuls website.

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