One of our readers and a member of the EWS kindly submitted the report below of her recent Waugh-themed visit to Castle Howard in North Yorkshire.
Half an Hour with Evelyn Waugh: ‘Brideshead Scenes Revisited’ at Castle Howard
by Milena Borden
Every afternoon at 3pm one can join the outside tour guide starting at the Boar Garden of Castle Howard and follow into the steps of the Brideshead characters as depicted in the Granada TV production, 1981. The tour guide Edward Sergeant is an admirer of Waugh’s prose and a young writer himself. He took our group of six visitors on a walk around the castle in glorious weather. We walked to five locations of scenes from the film in the following order: the slope where Charles Ryder (Jeremy Irons) pushes Sebastian in his wheel-chair down to the green; the alley leading up to the West Wing where in episode one Charles has a conversation with the young officer Hooper (Richard Hope) and says: ‘…I’ve been here before’; the front steps of the house Lord Marchmain (Laurence Olivier) is helped to climb up on his return to die at Brideshead; the roofed terrace where Charles and Sebastian (Anthony Andrews) sunbathe naked; finally we stopped at the fountain where Charles and Julia (Diana Quick) dramatically part in moonlight. The tour was intercepted by several very short, sensitively selected and nicely read by our guide excerpts from the Penguin Classics paperback publication of the novel.
‘Did Evelyn Waugh indicate Castle Howard as the actual place of his fictional book?’, asked one of the ladies in our group. The answer was: ‘No, he didn’t’.