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Thake on the Riviera

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 14 July 2009

Written by J.B. Morton.

In 1924 the writer J.B. Morton adopted the name 'Beachcomber' and began a humorous column in the Daily Express which was to run for over 50 years. Reading about the odd lives of Beachcomber's characters - whether they were nonsensical, puritanical, pompous or simply insane - became part of the ritual of breakfast throughout the land.

A typical example of Beachcomber's gift for creating what G.K. Chesterton described as "a huge thunderous wind of elemental and essential laughter," is Mr Thake.

Out of print since the 1930s, The Adventures of Mr Thake is a collection of letters to Beachcomber, sent home from the calamitous travels abroad of a gentleman of considerably more leisure than sense. Oswald Bletisloe Hattersley Thake is, to be blunt, an upper-class twit.

Described affectionately as "a caricature of his nation" here we have the fascinating spectacle of a Wooster with no Jeeves to rescue him. Whether he is losing his heart to young gold diggers on board the S.S. Lutetia while losing his hat overboard and wondering whether to stop the ship, or being fleeced in the nightclubs of Paris, Thake never quite understands what is happening to him - or why...

Reader: Leslie Phillips

Producer/Abridger: Neil Cargill
A Pier Production for BBC Radio 4.

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