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Two Besides (Hardback)

Alan Bennett

Two brand new monologues in the Talking Heads series, on BBC1 and iPlayer in June 2020, and published here for the first time.

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The gorgeous, pocket-sized edition of the two brand-new Talking Heads

***As seen on BBC1 and iPlayer***

‘Given the opportunity to revisit the characters from Talking Heads I’ve added a couple more, both of them ordinary women whom life takes by surprise. They just about end up on top and go on, but without quite knowing how. Still, they’re in good company, and at least they’ve made it into print.’

Alan Bennett’s twelve Talking Heads are acknowledged masterworks by one of our most highly acclaimed writers. Some thirty years after the original sixBennett has written Two Besides, a pair of monologues. Each, in its way, is a devastating portrait of grief. In An Ordinary Woman, a mother suffers the inevitable consequences when she makes life intolerable for herself and her family by falling for her own flesh and blood; while The Shrine tells the story behind a makeshift roadside shrine, introducing us to Lorna, bearing witness in her high-vis jacket, the bereft partner of a dedicated biker with a surprising private life.

The two new Talking Heads were recorded for the BBC during the exceptional circumstances of coronavirus lockdown in the spring of 2020, directed by Nicholas Hytner and performed by Sarah Lancashire and Monica Dolan.

The book contains a substantial preface by Nicholas Hytner and an introduction to each, by Alan Bennett.

Critic Reviews

A fully peopled, entirely credible, heartbreaking world. Technically, each one a masterclass in writing.

Critic Reviews

He still has the sharpest pen in Britain ... He is still fascinated by and cares deeply for the repressed, cardigan-wearing housewives of Middle England ... Bennett is at his best when flirting with indecency ... mesmerising and unbearably sad.

Daily Telegraph
Critic Reviews

Though infused with Bennett's dry wit and warmth, they are all uncommonly frank ... Bennett's Talking Heads are beautifully structured, unpeeling layer by layer as characters play a complex dance with the truth. Financial Times

Financial Times
Critic Reviews

Our greatest living writer.

Clive Davis, The Times

Alan Bennett has been one of our leading dramatists since the success of Beyond the Fringe in the 1960s. His television series Talking Heads has become a modern-day classic, as have many of his works for the stage including Forty Years On, The Lady in the Van (together with the screenplay), A Question of Attribution, The Madness of George III (together with the Oscar-nominated screenplay The Madness of King George), and…

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