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Kenneth Cranham reads from Andrew McConnell Stott's account of the life of one of the world's most famous clowns, Joseph Grimaldi, who became a superstar of Georgian pantomime.

His body crippled by the years of on-stage clowning, Grimaldi is forced finally to pass the baton to his son, JS. But the young pretender finds the constant comparisons with his famous father hard to bear, and seeks solace in the hard-drinking, hard-living circle of the great actor Edmund Kean. Meanwhile, his father is determined to fill the family's pockets with a final farewell performance; so, on 28th June 1828, barely able to stand on his crippled legs, Grimaldi staggers on to the stage of a packed Drury Lane Theatre.

Abridged by Viv Beeby.

15 minutes

Last on

Sat 12 Dec 2009 00:30

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