Hell’s Bells by Lynne Truss (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Hell’s Bells by Lynne Truss

Amiable comedy probes the fickle nature of success

Seventeen years after being dropped one series in by the BBC, Mrs Milliner is back on the television. Well, a television really. In a cramped recording studio, its creative team are preparing to record a DVD audio commentary.

However, Sacha Douglas, who once played the show’s chipper cockney maid, has since risen from Bond films to A-list, so it’s left to writer Carmen -- now running kennels in Shropshire -- and the series’ faded star Phyllis to reminisce and snipe. Meanwhile, hat historian (and genial dullard) Simon keeps trilling on about the trilbies and other headpieces that became the fans’ favourite.

Eat, Shoots and Leaves author Lynne Truss’ amicable comedy is perfect Radio 4 fare, even if it doesn’t really have anywhere to go. She conveys a real sense of Mrs Milliner’s flimsiness through the snide remarks and Truss nails the polite, but cutthroat, bitchiness of the Beeb. And, indeed, of the business of show as a whole, where success is so fickle that a single show can be one person’s launchpad and another’s last stand.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 27 Aug (not 20), 11.45am, £8–£9 (£7–£8).

Hell's Bells by Lynne Truss

  • 3 stars

A DVD of an obscure British TV costume drama is planned. The creative talents behind the abysmal Mrs Milliner assemble after 15 years to record the audio commentary. The contents warning on the box ought to read - contains intense bitterness, graphic squabbling and mild irreverence towards hats. Ages 14+. Pleasance…

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