The Villain in 6 Chapters
Exploring characters from literature, stage and screen, actor Toby Jones celebrates the mercurial world of the villain.
There are the characters we love, and then there are the characters we love to hate. Some of the most memorable ones in drama and fiction are villains and our relationship with them can be deeper than the characters we're supposed to be rooting for.
In this programme we tell the tale of this love - hate relationship with the baddie and discover that the villain is more than just a foil for the hero - they are a reflection of us all.
Introducing the story in six chapters from his secret lair actor Toby Jones delves into a the vaults of villainy; from the hideous countenances to deranged governesses, from the dark side to the cads and femme fatales the programme brings into the spotlight a collection of evil doers and assesses whether they deserve sympathy, condemnation or anti-hero status.
We live in the age of the anti-hero; characters which proliferate popular culture that are no longer simply goodies and baddies. They are cherished in critically acclaimed American dramas: Breaking Bad has Walter White and The Sopranos has the eponymous Tony. The anti-hero is a complex character. They can commit truly appalling, villainous acts - but we're encouraged to see the reasons behind those actions, to sympathise with them, to understand what makes them do what they do and to hope for redemption.
As the Walter White's and Tony Soprano's emerge, this programme reconsiders classic villainy and analyses whether the increasingly popular anti-hero is threatening to unseat the villain and resign them to pantomime and comic book stories as serious drama abandons real baddies.
As Toby Jones explores the wicked worlds of our favourite villains their nefarious natures are assessed by Shakespearean scholars Paul Edmondson and Carol Rutter, an academic specialising in Victorian fiction Professor John Sutherland, Comedy and film history Glenn Mitchell and actors Emily Raymond, Michael Roberts and Jonathan Rigby
Produced by Stephen Garner
With readings by Michael Roberts and Jessica Treen.