Warhorses of Letters

Series 1 - Episode 1

Warhorses of Letters
Radio Times
Review by:
Jane Anderson

Only on Radio 4 would one find a gay, epistolary romance in which the letter writers are horses. Oh, and they are voiced by Stephen Fry and Daniel Rigby. And if you can’t quite place Rigby, he won a Bafta this year for his portrayal of Eric Morecambe in the BBC2 drama Eric and Ernie.

And did I mention that the gee-gees they’re playing belonged to Napoleon and the Duke of Wellington? Please park any disbelief at the door — it won’t be needed. This is Camp Comic Fantasy with capital letters.

Fry gets to use a preposterously exaggerated French accent as Marengo, the small (14.1 hands) but perfectly formed mount of Napoleon. “I’m technically a pony,” he explains in a letter to his admirer, the youthful war-horse-to-be Copenhagen, chunky steed of the Duke of Wellington, “but Napoleon and I are perfectly to scale.”

There are more double entendres about pounding, mounting and staying the distance, but it’s done with as much affection as lust. Being the older nag by a good ten years, Marengo is much more comfortable in his horseshoes and knows how to impress a colt. “Oh my horsey God, you’re amazing with words,” declares Copenhagen on receiving a written response from his idol.

And the horse is right! The language is amazing, florid and full of equine-linked sexual innuendos. It’s a triumph of the imagination, of historical fancy and saucy humour.

About this programme

1/4. Comedy, by Robert Hudson and Marie Phillips, telling the tragic love story of two horses on opposing sides of the Peninsular War. Stephen Fry stars as the voice of Marengo, the famous mount of Napoleon Bonaparte, and Daniel Rigby plays Copenhagen, the starry-eyed racehorse set to become the Duke of Wellington's new steed. Introduced by Tamsin Greig.

Cast and crew

Cast

Marengo
Stephen Fry
Copenhagen
Daniel Rigby
Tamsin Greig

Crew

Director
Steven Canny
Producer
Gareth Edwards
Producer
Steven Canny
Writer
Robert Hudson
Writer
Marie Phillips
Categories
Comedy