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Bettie's Books

A Stuga On the Cusp of the Orust Riviera, tucked away next to a hobbit hole in the woods.

Sometimes into the Arms of God

Sometimes into the Arms of God - Christopher William Hill

bookshelves: radio-4, published-2013, play-dramatisation, historical-fiction, wwii, fradio, architecture, art-forms

Recommended to ☯Bettie☯ by: Laura
Read from July 10 to 14, 2013


BBC Blurb: Once described as 'the man who saved England', James Lees-Milne's work for the National Trust in the 1930s and 40s was instrumental in securing innumerable architectural gems for the nation. His waspish and witty diaries, which have inspired these three linked plays, chart the decline and fall of the English country house. It's 1942 and Lees-Milne is billeted with the National Trust at West Wycombe Park - a world away from Blitz-ridden London. Lees-Milne is a rising star of the Trust. Invalided out of the army, he's looking for his own battles to fight and is determined to save the house and preserve it for the nation. But times are hard and the Trust is reliant on a considerable endowment before they can acquire a property - an endowment which the incumbent inhabitants, Johnnie and Helen Dashwood, can ill-afford to pay. Helen is an imperious host, but is desperate for paying guests - so when Nancy Mitford comes to stay, she's welcomed with open arms. Lees-Milne is delighted for the distraction, but it's difficult for guests to throw themselves into the house party spirit in sub-zero conditions. Fortunately, Nancy is obsessed with the Antarctic explorers and Captain Scott, even nicknaming the upstairs lavatory 'The Beardmore' (after the glacier of the same name), much to Helen's chagrin. But it's a brittle peace, as cloistered together, all the guests attempt to block out the war for as long as possible.

Produced & directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria & Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious, trying to save properties for the National Trust. In this first play, Samuel Barnett (The History Boys; Twenty Twelve) makes a guest appearance as Cecil Beaton.

West Wycombe

A lightly-dramatised history of the fate of Temple, House and Grounds cram packed with 'names'.


The village and West Wycombe Park have been used as a location for numerous films, most notably The Duchess, The Importance of Being Earnest, I Capture the Castle and Dead Man's Folly. The BBC TV adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's novel Cranford was partly filmed at West Wycombe Park, along with TV series Inspector Morse. The Mausoleum was used as the set of a Roman town in an episode of the BBC Children's show Chucklevision and was used as a location in the biblical fantasy scenes for A Clockwork Orange. (wiki sourced)