Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bath Regency Detective: sneak preview

“City in line for own detective show” reads the headline in The Bath Chronicle. And what better sort of TV detective for Bath than one from the Regency period?

For it is, to paraphrase a novelist who stayed in Bath for a bit,  a truth universally acknowledged, that a city in possession of a gang of villains, must be in want of someone to give ’em a proper sorting.

Yes, coming soon to a screen near you is what can only be imagined as an Empire-line version of every hard-hitting Mockney detective series you’ve ever seen on TV.

Here’s a sneak preview:


A well-appointed  apartment in the Paragon. Miss Betty Smallpiece has met an unpleasant end. Her friend, the fashionable Miss Abigail Cavendish, is being grilled by Inspector Nasher, a rough diamond with greasy hair and yellow fingernails bitten to the quick. Sergeant Trotter, his sidekick, lurks menacingly at the back of the room.

MISS CAVENDISH: We have had a most delightful evening, an excellent ball.

NASHER: Shut it, slaaaaag!

MISS CAVENDISH: For shame, sir! Would you toy with my affections?

NASHER: Are you ’avin’ a laugh? You are, you’re ’avin’ a laugh, ain’tcha?

MISS CAVENDISH: Upon my word, you overstep the bounds of propriety.

NASHER: Give us a fag, love. I’ve got a mouth like a fireman’s boot.

MISS CAVENDISH: I most certainly will not. My father shall hear of this!

NASHER: That’s it, darlin’, you’re nicked. Cuff ’er, Trotter.


Nasher and Trotter peer in through the door of a cell at the headquarters of the Bath Watch. Filthy straw lines the cobbled floor. Miss Cavendish languishes in chains.

MISS CAVENDISH: I swoon, I swoon!

TROTTER: Is this some kind of fit-up, guvnor? You’re not tellin’ me it was her what done it?

NASHER: Nah, she’s ’ere for ’er own protection. If we ’adn’t ’ave brung ’er in  she’d ’ave woke up in Twerton with a chalk line round ’er.

TROTTER: You’re a sharp ’un guvnor and no mistake. Whadda we do now?

NASHER: We’re the Sweeney, son, and we ’aven’t ’ad any dinner!


Miss Cavendish has returned to her family lodgings with her betrothed, the dashing Mr Lower-Lansdown.  Nasher has uncomfortable news.

NASHER: That’s our villain. As soon as I laid eyes on the smarmy git I knew something weren’t right.

MISS CAVENDISH: But Inspector, Mr Lower-Lansdown is heir to a thousand acres in Hampshire. What possible desire could he have to do poor Betty to death?

NASHER: Search me, darlin’. But his prints was all over the blunderbuss. And his real name ain’t Lower-Lansdown. It’s Walcot. We’ve got ’im bang to rights.

LOWER-LANSDOWN: You’ll never take me, copper. I can’t do time again.

NASHER: Yeah, right. Take ’im down the nick, Trotter. And if you ’ave  to ’urt ’im, don’t mark ’im.

MISS CAVENDISH: How can I  thank you enough, Inspector? Maybe we will meet again at the Assembly Rooms next Friday forenoon?

NASHER (TO HIMSELF): I hate this place. It’s a holiday camp for thieves and weirdoes. All the rubbish...


Next week: Jamie’s Regency Dinners

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