Audiobooks: classic comedy and skilful mystery

Classic Comedy
Classic Comedy

AMONG the many releases from the BBC audiobooks this month is a classic comedy that may be new to many and a modern mystery that oozes style.

Parsley Sidings was a BBC Radio sitcom that started in 1971 and had two series, finishing in 1973.

Mystery thriller.

Mystery thriller.

It was most notable for bringing together again two of the Dad’s Army actors - Arthur Lowe and Ian Lavender.

Bill Pertwee, another Dad’s Army regular, also appeared on occasion.

The story revolves round the tiny railway station of Parsley Sidings, with Horace Hepplewhite (Lowe) as the station master and his son Bertrand (Lavender) as his assistant.

Carry On... favourite Kenneth Connor showed his versatility by taking on a range of roles, but the main ones were station porter Perct Valentine and signalman Mr Bradshaw.

In this collection of four episodes Connor even plays the role of Clara and the head of French Rail (using an accent he would re-create in Allo! Allo!).

Although many episodes were wiped (as was the policy at one stage at the BBC), a number survived and these four show a great comic touch by writer Jim Eldridge.

One other notable feature is that the series also included the talents of Roger Delgado who was the first Master in Dr Who.

Bang up to date is the latest mystery from the pen of Simon Brett.

His creation Charles Paris, is a superb character.

Seemingly totally hopeless as a separated (though not divorced) bit part actor with a slight drink problem, Paris is brilliantly brought to life by Bill Nighy.

While stumbling through life, Paris manages to get involved a variety of dastardly crimes and helps solve them.

In the latest, A Reconstructed Corpse, Paris has been kicked out of the home he and his ex-wife still share.

Desperate for some cash he takes on the role of a missing property developer for a crime reconstruction programme.

However, bits of body start to appear and it’s soon a case of murder with Paris helping to solve the case as well as taking part in what becomes a massively popular TV show.

The show was broadcast last month (February) so anyone who missed this gem can buy it and enjoy another top murder mystery from Mr Bertt.

These and a host of other audiobooks can be bought as CDs or downloaded from AudioGo

Steve Payne