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Felicity Kendal and Gerard Murphy read poetry and prose around the theme of breakfast from Isabella Beeton to Frank O'Hara, with music from Handel, Zappa and Dusty Springfield.

"Dinner parties are mere formalities; but you invite a man to breakfast because you want to see him." Thomas Babington Macauley

Of all the meals we eat Breakfast is the most loaded with possibility - to share a breakfast is to share intimacy, or to sit stubbornly in stony cold silence. It is a defining moment in the day, one of ritual and habit, full of joyous promise, or melancholic wonder. It is a meal to obsess over, to fuss over its constitution, or to ignore and sit in quiet contemplation.

Felicity Kendal and Gerard Murphy read poetry and prose around the theme of Breakfast ranging from the Victoriana of Mrs Isabella Beeton's missives to servants, to the narcotic fuelled orgies of Hunter S Thompson, the morning misery of Frank O'Hara, to the boiled egg obsessiveness of James Bond. Breakfast music is provided by G.F.Handel, Frank Zappa, Gustav Mahler, and Dusty Springfield amongst others.

First broadcast in October 2011.

1 hour, 15 minutes

Last on

Sun 30 Jun 2013 18:30

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:00

    Ryu Hankil


    Performer: Ryu Hankil (clockworks)

    • Manual manualcd01.
  • Helen Ivory

    Breakfast Machine, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:00

    Jean‐Philippe Rameau


    Performer: Calefax Reed Quintet

    • MDG 6191374-2.
  • Anthony Trollope

    The Warden (extract), reader Gerard Murphy

  • Dorothea Grossman

    I allow myself, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:04

    Estil Cortez Ball

    The early bird always gets the worm

    Performer: Michael Hurley

    • TSQ2288, Tr.7.
  • Charles Dickens

    Bleak House, reader Gerard Murphy

  • Gwendoline McEwen

    The Last Breakfast, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:09


    Tenebrae responsories for Maundy Thursday [excerpt]

    Performer: The King’s Singers

    • SIGNUM SIGCD048.
  • Walt Whitman

    For Queen Victoria's Birthday, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:13

    Gustav Mahler


    Performer: Christian Gerhaher, Gerold Huber

    • RCA 88697567732.
  • Hunter S Thompson

    The Great Shark Hunt (Strange Tales from a Strange Time) [extract], reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:16

    Frank Zappa

    St Alphonso's Pancake Breakfast

    Performer: Frank Zappa

    • ZAPPA CDZAP 18.
  • Mary Lamb

    Breakfast, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:22

    Edvard Grieg

    Little Bird (Lyric Pieces III, op.43)

    Performer: Mie Miki (accordion)

    • BIS CD1629.
  • Francis Darwin Cornford

    A Montreux Hotel, reader Felicity Kendal

  • Jack Underwood

    I promise when I lift your egg, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:25

    Dusty Springfield

    Breakfast in Bed

    • Rhino.
  • Sappho

    It was you Athis who said, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:29

    George Frideric Handel

    Welcome as the day of dawn (Solomon, HWV 67)

    Performer: Sarah Connolly, Rosemary Joshua

    • Chaconne CHAN0767.
  • Ian Fleming

    From Russia with Love [extract], reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:33

    Bernard Herrmann

    Citizen Kane (Breakfast montage)

    Performer: RKO Orchestra

    • Laserlight.
  • Heather Phillipson

    Dependency on oats, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 00:38

    Pete Seeger (voice and banjo)

    Beans, Bacon and Gravy

    • Smithsonian Folkways SFW40058.
  • Stoddard King

    Breakfast Song in Time of Diet, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:41

    Cole Porter

    Sunday Morning Breakfast Time

    Performer: Cole Porter

    • Koch 371712H1.
  • Harry Graham

    Breakfast, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:46

    Franz Schubert

    Piano Quintet in A major, D667 "The Trout" (Fourth movement)

    Performer: Bronfman / Zukerman / Marks / Forsyth / Quarrington

    • SONY 88697160442.
  • Isabella Beaton

    The book of Household Management (1861), reader Felicity Kendal

  • TS Eliot

    Morning at the Window, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:56

    Benny Goodman

    Breakfast Feud

    Performer: Benny Goodman Sextet

    • Columbia.
  • William Wilfred Gibson

    Breakfast, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 00:58

    George Butterworth

    VI. Is my team ploughing (Six songs from A Shropshire Lad)

    Performer: Christopher Maltman (baritone), Roger Vignoles (piano)

    • Hyperion CDA67378.
  • Frank O’Hara

    Melancholy Breakfast, reader Gerard Murphy

  • Jacques Prevert

    Breakfast, reader Felicity Kendal

  • 01:03

    Troublesome Houses

    Bonnie Prince Billy & The Cairo Gang

  • Breakfast in Bed

    Hugo Williams, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 01:08

    Julie London

    Nice Girls Don't Stay for Breakfast

    • Liberty Records LRP-3493.
  • Craig Arnold

    Meditation on a Grapefruit, reader Gerard Murphy

  • 01:11

    Max de Wardener

    Kettle Song

    • Static Caravan Van 154.


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