Johnson & Boswell Mini-Series?

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Johnson & Boswell Mini-Series?

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Apr 10, 2008, 12:24am

Does anyone know whether the BBC (or anyone else) has tried to bring Johnson & Boswell to the screen? I suppose it wouldn't have quite the allure of all the Austen adaptations, but it might be amusing, and there would be much scenery to chew for actors.

Apr 10, 2008, 5:48am

I vaguely remember something, but it might have been radio, not TV. Come to that, it might have been a documentary ("in the footsteps of...") rather than a mini-series. Some years ago, anyway.

Johnson pops up quite often - someone did a series on the enlightenment for BBC Four not long ago, which had an episode on the Dictionary (with the usual annoying "reconstructions", i.e. a large actor in a wig writing on slips of paper with a quill pen, in between the talking-head bits). And there was the episode of Blackadder where Johnson tries to get the Prince of Wales to sponsor the Dictionary and Blackadder accidentally destroys the manuscript....

Apr 10, 2008, 6:31pm

I didn't know about the Blackadder episode: hilarious.

Apr 11, 2008, 5:20am

Oh, well! I wondered what it was all about with this Blackadder! I had to go and have a look at Wikipedia to understand what you two were speaking about. It might be an idea to suggest Dr Johnson's House use this episode instead of their video where Boswell and Johnson devise very gently together for (I don't know) one hour maybe (I left before the end of the video). I don't know either if the DVD is on sale at the museum shop.

Apr 11, 2008, 6:04am

>thorold ~ I think it was Baldrick who accidentally destroyed 'the papery thing' (dictionary) by using it as a firelighter. Then Blackadder stayed up all night trying to re-write it but only got as far as 'Aardvark' :D

Apr 11, 2008, 6:49am

How about Boswell & Johnson's Tour of the Western Isles (1993) with Robbie Coltrane & John Sessions?

Apr 11, 2008, 10:48pm

>5 digifish_books:

I stand corrected :-)
I mainly remember Blackadder trying to confuse Johnson by listing a lot of nonsense words that aren't in the dictionary.

>6 antisyzygy:
That might well be what I was dimly trying to recall. Though I think I would have remembered Robbie Coltrane.

Apr 23, 2008, 8:32am

This was on Radio 4 last week and was rather enjoyable:

Saturday 19 April

Dr Johnson's Dictionary of Crime

By David Ashton

History, detection and comedy meet in a gripping crime story as Dr Johnson and James Boswell tackle the teeming London underworld of 1781. How do you save a man from hanging who has shot another at point blank range? And how do you defeat the power and vested interest of a man highly placed in His Majesty’s Government?

Dr Johnson ...... Timothy West
James Boswell. ..... Stuart McQuarrie
Hester Thrale ...... Joanna David
Lord Spencer ...... David Shaw-Parker
Capt. John Porteous ...... Oliver Milburn
Tobias Boothroyd ...... Harry Myers
Caroline Spencer ...... Abigail Hollick
Lady Crewe ...... Teresa Gallagher
Serena Boothroyd ...... Cathy Sara
Silas Pike ...... Ron Cook

Producer/director Marilyn Imrie.

Oct 21, 2008, 11:21am

There are video tapes of Boswell for the Defense and his London Journal.

Both are out of circulation and consequently very hard to obtain.

Ed Schaeffer

Nov 1, 2008, 7:31pm

I suspect that most of you know this already but there's a lovely novel about Samuel Johnson by Beryl Bainbridge, According to Queeney. I'm itching to read some of her other books now.