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Desmond Olivier Dingle’s Compleat Life and Works of William Shakespeare by Desmond Olivier Dingle
Radio 4
1995 (six episodes)

Desmond Olivier Dingle never was one to hide his light under a bushel: the title of this show was, at his insistence, spelt out in full in the Radio Times billing.  The creation of actor Patrick Barlow, Dingle is the more pompous half of the National Theatre of Brent, a renowned two-man touring company: his underling Wallace, who was played by Jim Broadbent, had presumably parted company with him by this point.  This series followed on from a book entitled Shakespeare — The Truth! (adapted for radio in 1993), and aimed to provide a comprehensive survey of all there is to know about the great man (Shakespeare, not Dingle).  Desmond was assisted in his task by the variously inadequate members of the Royal Dingle Company, played by Duncan Preston, Kevin Allen, Robert Austin and Mossie Smith, and by assorted special guests (Richard E Grant appeared, but Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson apparently cried off and were replaced by the far superior Lionel Blair).  Additional script material was contributed by producer Liz Anstee (and, as the credits made clear, by William Shakespeare).

© JB Sumner 1998