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The Killing of Sister George

by Frank Marcus

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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984244,860 (2.81)6
A scathing examination of the public and private lives of so-called "cultural icons". "Sister George" is a beloved character on a popular BBC soap opera, a cheerful nurse who bicycles about the countryside singing hymns and doing good. In private life, June Buckridge the actress, is a swaggering, foul-mouthed, alcoholic lesbian in a long-term relationship with waifish Alice "Childie" McNaught. Due to low ratings, cut-backs and June's own bad behavior, the BBC decides to "kill Sister George" on the series. A visit from Miss Mercy Croft, a no-nonsense network executive bearing the bad news sends George into meltdown, which results in "Childie's" retreat to the arms of Mercy.… (more)
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Showing 4 of 4
June, a rather butch actress, lives with Alice, a demure little thing, and plays Sister George, a virtuous nurse in a radio series called Applehurst. After six years, the BBC is about to kill Sister George off and June is most distressed, besides being abusive to Alice. Although the play is a farce, the relationship between June and Alice has elements of homophobia. But, writing an obituary in The Independent, Adam Benedick suggests the play is about power, and about the absurdity of entertainment consumers who react to fictional characters as if they were neighbors, and maybe a dig at mediocre actors who achieve wild success on the basis of one role. Perhaps. Certainly the mousy, demure character has the upper hand at the end of the play. I've always considered farce mean-spirited, and this is no exception. ( )
  deckla | Sep 29, 2018 |
The title would mislead many who do not understand that it is about the firing of a radio personality by having her character die on the program. The story is overlain with the main plot, but there is also a subplot about the relationship between the actor and her "flatmate" or girlfriend. The relationship seems a bit strained in the euphemisms, but this is a play written and produced in a different time, when the presence of a same-sex partner could spell serious trouble for a career and for acceptance in society as a whole. It was bold for its time, but seems rather tame now, other than the standard presentation of one of the partners as an abusive bully and the other a submissive, frightened child-woman that needs to be rescued. The homophobia is from a different time; the ins and outs of the world of "branding" and marketing of the series could be snatched right out of today's star-studded magazines. Worth a look. ( )
  Devil_llama | Mar 17, 2018 |
I don't care what the cover says. This is NOT a comedy, even the blackest variety. ( )
1 vote AliceAnna | Oct 21, 2014 |
I read this when I was around 14 and more unlikely subject matter for a teenage cowboy I can hardly imagine. I was dumbfounded by even the imaginary existence of a lesbian couple sundered by the dominant one's demotion on British radio drama. Was I reading this book the right side up? ( )
1 vote jburlinson | Jun 14, 2009 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Frank Marcusprimary authorall editionscalculated
Close, J. G.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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A scathing examination of the public and private lives of so-called "cultural icons". "Sister George" is a beloved character on a popular BBC soap opera, a cheerful nurse who bicycles about the countryside singing hymns and doing good. In private life, June Buckridge the actress, is a swaggering, foul-mouthed, alcoholic lesbian in a long-term relationship with waifish Alice "Childie" McNaught. Due to low ratings, cut-backs and June's own bad behavior, the BBC decides to "kill Sister George" on the series. A visit from Miss Mercy Croft, a no-nonsense network executive bearing the bad news sends George into meltdown, which results in "Childie's" retreat to the arms of Mercy.

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