Basil Seal Rides Yet Again

D.J. Taylor in the Independent announces low expectations for the BBC’s plans to revive its 1970s sit. com. Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em. The plan is to have the 74 year old Michael Crawford reprise his role as youthfully naive Frank Spencer among a company of other superannuated actors from the original series. This will be a one-off production aired as part of the Sports Relief program. Taylor thinks the BBC is making the same mistake that he believes befell Evelyn Waugh near the end of his career:

When Anthony Powell, having finished his 12-volume A Dance to the Music of Time (1951-1976), resisted the siren voices urging him to create further opportunities for his characters he probably had at the back of his mind his friend Evelyn Waugh, whose Basil Seal Rides Again (1963) is a largely unsuccessful attempt to transfer the rakish ne’er do well of his 1930s novels Black Mischief and Scoop into the age of Harold Macmillan.

When Powell received his copy of Basil Seal Rides Again, he thanked Waugh rather cooly and said that Basil was not his favorite among Waugh’s characters. Powell also noted that he looked forward to Basil’s being killed in painful circumstances, so perhaps he thought that Rides Again was not Waugh’s last word on the subject (Letter dated 16 October 1963, BL, Waugh Papers). While it is true that Basil was not as outrageously ornery as he had been in his earlier incarnations, he was still a bit of a lad in Rides Again, albeit somewhat mellower. For the record, Basil did not reappear in Scoop, but he did show up as a character in Put Out More Flags and Work Suspended.


This entry was posted in Basil Seal Rides Again, Black Mischief, Newspapers, Put Out More Flags, Scoop, Television Programs, Work Suspended and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.