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Stonehouse in Alice

Episode 2 of 5

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Tuesday 28 February 2012

Written and directed by Nigel Smith and starring Tim McInnerny as John Stonehouse and Daniel Rigby as Ed Jennings. Stonehouse in Alice is the second of The History Plays, imaginary conversations set against the backdrop of real events.

It's 1974 and Ed Jennings, a cub reporter from a local paper has stumbled upon the scoop of a lifetime while on holiday in Australia. Because Leonard has found missing maverick MP, John Stonehouse.

Stonehouse recently faked his death to escape from a sea of debt, the fraud squad, his wife, and a series of misadventures back home in the UK. A charmer, a snob, an aesthete, a writer and a con man, the Walsall North MP, once one of the greatest loose cannons of his political generation, is now in hiding, shacked up with his mistress in one of the loneliest places on earth. What will be kept secret for decades, however, is that he's also a communist spy.

Ed is bright enough to know this story will make his name. It has all the ingredients; celebrity, notoriety, sex, politics and sleaze. But what it's fundamentally about is greed. And that is still seen as shocking in an MP. Chisholm knows no post-war English politician will have had such a fall from grace. Profumo only erred for lust. This is something new... and thrilling. And it turns out Stonehouse has an offer for the young reporter. One that will change both their lives.


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