Lost In Austen

In a frankly cynical attempt to cash in on the upcoming new ITV1 drama series Lost In Austen, I present a couple of my radio sketches from years ago …  
Those Charming Bennet Girls – #1
FX: 18th Century chamber music.

MAN: (posh, Pride & Prejudice) Mr Bennet, may I introduce Mr Dingley who is newly arrived in these parts from London …(whispering) …in search of a wife!

DINGLEY: Good day to you, sir.

MR BENNET: And to you, Dingley. Allow me to introduce my daughters – Elizabeth, Betty, Liz, Eliza, Bessie, Beth, Betsie, Liza and my eldest, Lizzie.

DINGLEY: Charmed.

FX: The Bennet girls giggle.

DINGLEY: I am told sir that the Bennet girls are all accomplished at needlepoint.

BENNET: Indeed sir.

DINGLEY: Do they read also?

BENNET: Reading sir? My girls? Why, they are half-wits. Like their mother. That is their charm. Why Lizzie once saw a book and had to be put to bed for a week.

DINGLEY: Indeed sir. How delightful.

BENNET: I’ll have you know, that my library is guarded 24-hours a day – by a servant with a shotgun. Should one of the poor creatures so much as stray towards it, he has been instructed to fire a warning shot over her head.

DINGLEY: An attitude which does you credit sir.

FX: More giggling.

BENNET: Ah! I see a colleague. If you would excuse me for a moment, Dingley. My eldest, Lizzie, shall entertain you.

DINGLEY: My pleasure, sir.

LIZZIE: So Mr Dingley, how are you enjoying the country life?

DINGLEY: The view is lovely. Particularly from where I’m standing at the moment.

FX: Giggling from the other girls.

LIZZIE: Indeed sir. You are too kind.

DINGLEY: Not at all. The kindness is all yours, the kindness in allowing me to gaze on such … rare beauty.

FX: Hysterical giggling from her little sisters.

LIZZIE: Sisters, please! Sir, your tongue does charm me indeed.

DINGLEY: Not at all. It is my pleasure to have the company of such –

FX: He is interrupted by the other girls giggling.

LIZZIE: Pray continue sir.

DINGLEY: I was merely remarking that it was my –

FX: More giggling.

LIZZIE: Excuse me for a moment, Mr Dingley. LISTEN! WILL YOU LOT SHUT IT! CAN’T SEE I’M TRYING TO GET A RIDE, HERE? Sorry, sir. Pray continue …

FX: Giggling and end coda of chamber music.


Those Charming Bennet Girls – #2

BENNET: Watch Dingley! See how the creature dances to the music. It’s almost as if she understands what’s happening. (He makes whistling noises like on “One Man And His Dog’) Come by girl! Come by!

DINGLEY: Charming, sir. And this, Eliza, would be your … youngest daughter?

BENNET: That’s right Dingley. Just sixteen and as thick as her mother.

DINGLEY: Indeed sir.

BENNET: Why she is so dizzy she cannot even find the drawing room in her own home – and has to be led there by servants.

DINGLEY: How delightful. Tell me sir. Young Eliza. In temperament, is she anything like her sisters?

BENNET: Exactly sir.

DINGLEY: Ah! I see.

BENNET: I notice Dingley, that in the past week you’ve caught the eye of many of my daughters – all fourteen, in fact.

DINGLEY: Yes sir.

BENNET: But, none of them, alas, seems to have pleased you.

DINGLEY: Not at all. They are all quite charming. It is merely that I am …

BENNET: Do they not dance as well as society ladies?

DINGLEY: No sir. They dance admirably well.

BENNET: Do they not play piano? Needlepoint? Why they can even eat with a knife and fork sir. What more do you want?

DINGLEY: Mr Bennet, I …

BENNET: Do you drink from the other side of the glass?

DINGLEY: I beg your pardon?

BENNET: Do you bat for the other side?

DINGLEY: I’m sorry sir. I don’t undertand what you’re –

BENNET: Do you wear your trousers backwards? Have you a friend in the town? Do you approach the racecourse from an all together diff-er-ent angle?

DINGLEY: Sir, I’m afraid I don’t know what you’re –

BENNET: Do I have to spell it out for you man? DO YOU TAKE IT UP THE A–

DINGLEY: Aaaah! I see sir. I understand. No, no. Quite the opposite.

BENNET: Glad to hear it. I don’t have any boys. Just daughters I’m afraid. I do have a younger brother – but I only use him in emergencies. I do have a cousin Bethany however. She might fit the bill.

DINGLEY: Indeed. Is she pretty?

BENNET: In an ape-like fashion, yes. If looking like an ape could be deemed pretty then she’s a stunner sir.

DINGLEY: Right, well perhaps then, if you have any other cousins …?

BENNET: Afraid not.

DINGLEY: Or younger sisters?


DINGLEY: Right, well, in that case, ehm .. I … Oh, forget it! Shove it up your arse, Bennet! I’m going back to London to smoke opium and live with some prostitutes.

FX: End coda of chamber music.


One Response to “Lost In Austen”

  1. suzyfoxx Says:

    more mingles, we want more immediately. i love mister darceeee


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