DIANNE BUTLER OUT OF THE BOX
THERE’S a nice rose called The Wife of Bath. They name roses after anyone now, you basically just have to ring up and you can get one. But I still think Geoffrey Chaucer would be a tiny bit blown away by this . . . what would you call it . . . not exactly an honour . . . thing.
Blown away by this thing. Yeah, today’s episode of Great Thinkers is about Geoffrey Chaucer. I s’pose he’s one. Don’t know if I thought it that time I tried to read The Canterbury Tales. He was an original thinker, anyway, and it probably amounts to pretty much the same thing.
The Wife of Bath is played by Jenny Eclair in the reenactment here. Jenny Eclair, who you would know from the Grumpy Old Women series.
Did any of you see The Canterbury Tales on UKTV a couple of years ago? That Wife of Bath was fantastic . . . Julie Walters and Bill Nighy. So good. I loved The Miller’s Tale, too. Dennis Waterman, totally clueless, and Billie Piper as his wife and James Nesbitt as the grifter . . . they were so much fun, really in the spirit of Chaucer.
Obviously you’ve got Heath Ledger’s film A Knight’s Tale — it’s one of the Canterbury Tale poems as well. There’s a heap of different adaptations. They’re not just roses.
Mark Steel is the presenter here. He’s a comedian and writer, fairly political, good with voices, and he gives it the full treatment.
I can’t tell you how grateful I was this didn’t turn out to be the dry sack of earnestness I’d gone in expecting. Steel races through Chaucer’s bio using lots of cute and amusing extras. He especially needs to be commended on his excellent use of tabloid newspapers.
You realise Chaucer died maybe 611 years ago? Nobody’s sure, is the thing. Might’ve even been murdered. Whatever he was— the Benny Hill of Middle England?, Steel asks at one point — he was influential beyond measure. Great Thinkers of Our Time History Channel, 5.30pm
Blown away: Geoffrey Chaucer