iPlayer Radio What's New?
Playing: Sonata in D minor by Johann Friedrich Fasch
Image for Falstaff: The Bad Man We All Need

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

Falstaff: The Bad Man We All Need

20 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 08 October 2010

Before the broadcast of Elgar's 'Falstaff' Paul Allen, who is writing a book about the character, reflects on the fascination of composers and writers with this larger than life figure.One of the first composers to use Falstaff as a subject was the much-maligned Salieri. Nicolai, Verdi, Vaughan Williams and Elgar followed. What makes a character who's not even the official protagonist of two of the three plays he's in so irresistible? Paul Allen finds the answer in two contemporary plays where Falstaff reappears under a different name and in different circumstances: Alan Bennett's 'The History Boys' and Jez Butterworth's 'Jerusalem'. In this illustrated talk he argues that Falstaff, perhaps Shakespeare's greatest invention, is the bad man we all need in order to grow up, to be - in the broadest sense of the word - educated. But there is a price to be paid for this attachment to the young. Falstaff must always die .

prod: Julian May.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss