The Prince Monolulu Quandary
Stephen K Amos investigates the incredible true story of Ras Prince Monolulu, the first black man ever to appear on British TV screens.
Standing tall in his billowing robes, lions paws swing from his neck and ostrich feathers adorn his hair. He shouts his catch phrase to an eager crowd, "I gotta 'Orse, I gotta 'Orse to beat the favourite." His smile is wide, his eyes full of spark and secrets, and the crowd is captivated.
Monolulu made his fame on the race courses of England in the 1920s but soon became a national treasure enchanting the nation until his death in the 1960s. But today his story has fallen through the cracks of history. There's no blue plaque and no museum. So who was this man? Where did he come from? What drove him to fame and how did he charm the nation for over forty years?
Comedian Stephen K Amos sets out to discover the incredible truth behind this mystical character, meeting people who remember the Prince and the vigilant detectives striving to get to the bottom of his story. The tale takes us from Ethiopia to Honolulu, from Germany to Soho.
Lifting the gossamer webs of Monolulu's carefully woven stories, Stephen reveals the truth of this man and finds than it's even stranger than fiction. It's a story of invented exotic identities and the struggle for survival.
Producer: Claire Crofton
A Whistledown production for BBC Radio 4.