BBC Radio 4 & BBC Radio 4 Extra
Perfectly Normal Production
Richard Mayhew, a Scot living in London, encounters an injured girl named Door on the street one night. Despite his fiancée's protests he decides to help her, but that unfortunately also means that he suddenly ceases to exist for regular people and becomes real only to the denizens of 'London Below', whose inhabitants are generally invisible and non-existent to the people of 'London Above'. He loses his house, his job and nearly his mind as he travels London Below in an attempt to make sense out of it all, find a way back, and help Door survive as she is hunted down by hired assassins.
In London Below the various familiar names of London all take on a new significance: for example Knightsbridge becomes "Night's Bridge", a stone bridge whose darkness takes its toll in human life; The Angel, Islington is an actual angel. London Below is a parallel world in and beneath the sewers. Its inhabitants are the homeless, but also people from other times, such as Roman legionaries and medieval monks, as well as fictional and fantastical characters.
The Marquis de Carabas
|The Angel Islington|
|Earl of Earl's Court|
The Soundhouse Ltd London, England
21st November 2012
6 Episodes 30 minutes long
Richard Mayhew - a young businessman, who discovers the world of London Below one day after helping the injured Door recover in his flat.
Door – A young woman from London Below, the daughter of a noble family who were all murdered shortly before the beginning of the story. She possesses her family’s innate ability to “open” things (and not just doors).
The Marquis de Carabas – The Marquis is arrogant, cunning and very self-confident. Though very much the trickster, he is a loyal friend of Door and her family. This character was inspired by Puss in Boots. Gaiman stated this as the starting point for the character, and imagining "Who would own a cat like this?"
Mr. Croup – The talkative half of the pair of assassins, the Messrs. He is short, fat, and speaks in a pompous and verbose manner. Like his partner, Mr. Vandemar, he seems to be able to simply move from one place to another very quickly despite his ungainly appearance. He is the brains of the pair and seems be the one calling the shots, and he apparently has a taste (literally) for fine china. Much of the imagery used to describe him is that of a fox.
Mr. Vandemar – Dull-witted, tall, and gangly, Vandemar is Croup’s polar opposite. He does not speak much, and when he does, his statements are often laconic and blunt. He is quite brutish and seems to enjoy nothing more than killing and destroying things (even practising his golf swing with live toads). He also has a tendency to eat live animals. The descriptive imagery likens him to a hound or a wolf, and he even howls at one point when catching up with his mark.
Old Bailey – An old friend of the Marquis, he keeps the company of pigeons on the rooftops and wears clothing made of feathers. He became indebted to the Marquis long ago, and so is charged with keeping a portion of his life safe for him.
Hunter – A warrior of London Below; her feats are legendary. Her lifelong obsession is to slay the great Beast of London. The imagery used to describe her likens her to a lioness.
The Angel Islington - An actual angel dwelling in the sewers of London Below. Its duty is to watch over London Below, though (or maybe because) it failed at its previous task: guarding the city of Atlantis
Lamia & The Velvets - Vampire-like seductresses, dressed in dark velvet, who "suck the warmth" from their victims.
The Abbott The leader of a group of armed black friars guarding a special key at Blackfriars.
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