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What England Owes

45 minutes
First broadcast:
Wednesday 10 July 2013

by Christopher William Hill

As WW2 nears its conclusion, James Lees-Milne is sent to assess Faringdon House in Berkshire for the National Trust. Faringdon is home to the composer, artist and poet Gerald, Lord Berners, who has returned to England under a cloud, having spent most of the war in Rome. Lord Berners is an eccentric through-and-through - a man given to dying his doves to co-ordinate with the food he's serving and the once proud owner of a pet giraffe. Together with the handsome Robert Heber Percy and his wife, Jennifer, Lord Berners is part of an apparently successful ménage a trois. Lees-Milne finds it an inspirational relationship and is convinced it would be the perfect and most civilised lifestyle to lead. Berners is determined that provision must be made for his beloved Robert if the house is acquired by the Trust. And as Lees-Milne contemplates mortality, he considers what his own legacy will be.

Produced & directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria & Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious in trying to secure properties for the National Trust. In this play, Christopher Godwin (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; My Family & Other Animals) stars as the eccentric Gerald, Lord Berners.


James Lees-Milne
Tobias Menzies
Lord Berners
Christopher Godwin
Nancy Mitford
Victoria Hamilton
Robert Heber-Percy
Michael Shelford
Jennifer Heber-Percy
Philippa Stanton
Joanna Brookes
Eddy Sackville-West
David Seddon
Marion Nancarrow
Marion Nancarrow
Christopher William Hill


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