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Landlord of the Crystal Fountain

15 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 26 April 2011

Martin Jarvis directs Imelda Staunton in Malachi Whitaker's moving story, written in the 1930s. Attractive red-headed teacher, Brenda Millgate, meets five jolly men on a train from King's Cross going north. What happens to her on the journey is a life-changing experience. They're very friendly and helpful. All northerners. Where have they been? Who are they? Eventually it's revealed that they're all landlords.

Brenda, unhappy in London away from her northern roots, is beguiled by their talk, their humour and their courtesy. Then one of them says something which changes her whole life.

Malachi Whitaker was a prolific writer in the 1920s and '30s, writing with great perception and care about ordinary folk, invariably setting the stories in her native Yorkshire. She became known as 'the Chekhov of the north' because of her sympathetic observation of the minutiae of human beings and their (often comic and surprising) behaviour.

Imelda Staunton biography: Oscar nominated and Bafta award-winning for her title role performance in 'Vera Drake'. She has had a long and distinguished career in the theatre, RNT and West End, performing A Man for all Seasons, Mack & Mabel, Side by Side, and Elektra. Also BBC TV Series: Cranford.

Producer/Director: Martin Jarvis
A Jarvis & Ayres production for BBC Radio 4.


Imelda Staunton
Martin Jarvis
Martin Jarvis
Malachi Whitaker


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