Edmund Gosse – Father and Son
When I saw that Derek Jacobi and Roger Allam (to my mind Cadfael and the evil guy from the Speed Racer movie) played the main two roles in this BBC radio drama, I had to attempt to listen to the BBC radio website one more time. I’m glad I did, because I found this lovely.
I feel like I’ve heard of the Gosses before but can’t say if it was Edmund or his father Philip Henry that I remember. The drama comes from the book Edmund Gosse wrote, called Father and Son, a memoir of his childhood. The first episode covers his birth and very early life, including his mother’s death from cancer while still a child. There are the moments of childhood growth, such as learning your father does not know everything and trying to puzzle out the world around you. There are funny moments and sad moments. While I personally found aspects of it I was less than thrilled with, it was a quality performance by all involved and I’m very thankful I got a chance to listen.
On to episode two.
What a heart wrenching ending! The actors were exceptional and did not show it better than at the end where they were arguing with each other. We learn of Edmund’s baptism, getting a new mother, discovering the beauty of the written word, and his growing issues with his father. I feel though that this is a rather one sided tale. This is based on a book written by Edmund about his father and we see the man only through his eyes. With few exceptions, we are given only a very narrow glimpse of Philip Henry and I’d like to know more of his side. Have to see if anyone has done research from that angle.
This episode, production-wise, was just as good as the first one and leaves me seeking out more of these dramatizations.