Out now in paperback: The Favourite

The Favourite, my book about the relationship between Elizabeth I and Sir Walter Ralegh, is now out in paperback through Constable. The new edition includes a lengthy afterword taking the story through to the end of Ralegh's life in 1618. 'The Favourite is wonderful. Elegant and intriguing – a seductive portrait of a fascinating relationship. I couldn’t … Continue reading Out now in paperback: The Favourite

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Review: Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe

  Saturday 30 September saw a unique staging of Thomas Nashe’s only extant whole-authored play, Summer’s Last Will and Testament, in the Great Hall of the Bishop’s Palace in Croydon, where it was first performed in the early autumn of 1592. The performance was a joint venture between the Edward’s Boys company, from the King … Continue reading Review: Summer’s Last Will and Testament by Thomas Nashe

Mary, Countess of Pembroke: poetry, patronage and power

This is, more or less, the text of the talk I gave earlier this month at the Wilton History Festival. Mary, Countess of Pembroke, and her sons William and Philip, were the most influential patrons of the Elizabethan and Jacobean era. Let’s begin with a story to illustrate that assertion. For the moment, we will … Continue reading Mary, Countess of Pembroke: poetry, patronage and power

Of God and Jonson: theatre history, new things and non-events

I was fortunate to be able to attend some of the superb Before Shakespeare conference at Roehampton last week. I came away with a range of thoughts and ideas, some of which I hope to pursue in one form or another. Perhaps the thing that struck me most, however, was Bill Ingram’s opening talk. Ingram … Continue reading Of God and Jonson: theatre history, new things and non-events

Wilton History Festival: the Countess of Pembroke and her circle

Just a brief post to say I will be speaking at Wilton History Festival on 17 September about the literary circle around Mary Sidney and the power of patronage. For those who don't know, Mary Sidney was the younger sister Philip Sidney and is the Countess of Pembroke for whom he wrote the Arcadia. However, … Continue reading Wilton History Festival: the Countess of Pembroke and her circle

Forgotten London films: Underground (1928)

Underground is the only silent film I’ve included on this list – and it is a corker. Largely shot on location, it is a treasure trove for anyone wanting to know what interwar London looked like – around Chelsea in particular. (Lots Road power station plays a major role – but you’ll have to watch … Continue reading Forgotten London films: Underground (1928)

Forgotten London films: Run For Your Money (1949)

A lesser known Ealing comedy, Run for your Money tells the story of two Welsh miners who come to London having won a prize in a newspaper competition, which they need to collect in person. Some of the humour is more strained than in comparable Ealing films – think Whisky Galore, say – particularly in … Continue reading Forgotten London films: Run For Your Money (1949)

Forgotten London films: Waterloo Road (1945)

Set contemporaneously, Waterloo Road expertly taps into the tensions between those called up for military duty and those who remained behind in civilian life. It stars John Mills as a soldier who comes home to south east London on leave to find his wife, played by Joy Shelton, apparently enamoured of local spiv, Ted Purvis. … Continue reading Forgotten London films: Waterloo Road (1945)