Mr Trollope and the Labours of Hercules

There was a great radio play on BBC Radio 4 on Monday, which you can still catch on the BBC iPlayer. Based on Trollope’s visit to the West Indies to survey the postal system in 1858. Written by Patricia Cumper, who is from Jamaica, the play draws on Trollope’s own words in his travelogue about his time there: The West Indies and the Spanish Main. It presents the events from the perspective of local man, Hercules, who accompanies him on his travels.

The play is prefaced by a warning that the attitudes portrayed are very much of their time but in the end it reveals Trollope to be more liberal than conservative in his views – albeit they would be shocking if held now. In this, I think the play is true to Trollope’s overall perspective even while quoting passages which would not be printable today.

This is a significant achievement on the part of the writer and I enjoyed the zest with which the cast (notably Paterson Joseph as Hercules, Justin Edwards as Trollope and Cecilia Noble as Miss Grant) bring the characters to life.

To listen to the whole play go to the iPlayer at:


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