Our Daily Beard – 19/03/13

Have you been listening to the new Neverwhere radio show?

Er- why not?!

Get onto the BBC iPlayer site now! And/or, your local friendly download site.

So if you haven’t read Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman, or seen the TV show, then go away and come back when you have.

Done that? Great.

This is one of the first fantasy style things I ever saw and got me firmly hooked back in the day- not to mention introducing me to the world of Gaiman. Needless to say I’m a big fan and was very excited by the prospect of an all-new radio version with swanky voice talent.

How swanky you ask?

Here’s a highlight:

James McAvoy as Richard

Natalie Dormer as Door

David Harewood as the Marquis

Sophie Okenedo as Hunter

Benedict Cumberbatch as Islington

Anthony Head as Croup

David Schofield as Vandemar

Bernard Cribbins as Old Bailey

Johnny Vegas as Lord Rat-Speaker

Christopher Lee as the Earl

The list goes on!




I’ve only listened to the first part of six, so I can only attest to some of the acting talent.

First of all, James McAvoy was great- no surprises there. He suits the role of Richard perfectly. Natalie Dormer of Tudors and Marjorie Tyrell fame was also great. What can I say? They fit the roles nicely and did a sterling job, so far.

How, David Harewood plays a good Marquis de Carabas, but I just can’t shake Paterson Joseph from my mind. He’s just that touch more… smarmy and punchable (in the best way!). David was fine, don’t get me wrong- just my preference. Having said that, it’s early days.

Sophie Okenedo seemed fine, nice and mysterious with a hard edge. She certainly sounded like a woman with a sharp spear.

Croup and Vandemar… I was a little put off, actually. Now, I don’t fault the great Anthony Head or David Schofield for this at all- I may be too set in my ways with the TV version of the Old Firm. They both exaggerated rather a lot, almost to parody, though I suppose that’s a necessity with radio where characters need to be very distinct. Anthony Head was, as one would expect, suitably sharp and nasty. David Schofield was, and again this is just person taste, too in-your-face for me. I like the stoic, almost contemplative Vandemar. He did a much more oafish, aggressive slant on the character- but it did, admittedly, feel more ‘London’!

The Cribmeister was fine- never any doubt- and Johnny Vegas was surprisingly good. Great casting all around, really- each actor suited the roll perfectly. Can’t wait to hear Islington and I get to hear the Earl tonight!

Oh, how could I forget- Neil himself (no pun intended with @neilhimself) was very funny as the Fop with no name! Cur!

Generally the sound effects were solid and the adaptation strong with minimal alterations, just how I like it.

I have part 2 waiting for me now- each new part is on Radio 4 Extra each night this week.

Check it out, it’s great. There’s a certain pleasing synchronicity that I’ve been working on something set on the London Underground just as Neverwhere resurfaces. I’m keen to refresh my memory of it and see what I can borrow for atmosphere- and at the same time make sure I haven’t borrowed too much!

See you tomorrow… and mind the gap.



by Bret

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