Pater­son Joseph reprises his Nev­er­where role in How The Mar­quis Got His Coat Back…

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The mer­cu­rial Mar­quis De Carabas all but stole the show in the BBC’s 1996 se­ries Nev­er­where, but in the process he had some­thing stolen from him: his coat. Two decades on, it’s a wrong that Neil Gaiman put right in his short story, How The Mar­quis Got His Coat Back, and Pater­son Joseph was de­lighted to be able to act out the Mar­quis and his cloth­ing be­ing re­united in a new ra­dio play.

“In the story, the Mar­quis De Carabas gets it nicked off him by the sewer folk, who take it as a kind of tax,” says Joseph. “And it was the most beau­ti­ful thing I’d ever worn as a cos­tume on tele­vi­sion. When we fin­ished the se­ries, we weren’t sure if we were go­ing to make a sec­ond one, so they kept it – con­se­quently, some­one stole it from the wardrobe depart­ment! Cut to 20 years later and Neil says: ‘I’ve been think­ing about the Mar­quis’s coat…’ Three weeks later, he sent me a cou­ple of pages from a story. I was ec­static! A chance to work with Neil Gaiman again, and a chance to bring the Mar­quis back.”

The BBC play also fea­tures Bernard Crib­bins, Don War­ring­ton, Adrian Lester and a few sur­prises (our lips are sealed). But was it hard trans­fer­ring the larger-than-life per­sona of the Mar­quis to ra­dio? Joseph says it wasn’t. “Neil’s such a bril­liant writer,” he ex­plains. “Ver­bal dex­ter­ity, that’s what’s great about the Mar­quis. Is he be­ing sar­cas­tic or se­ri­ous? Ra­dio-wise, you just con­cen­trate that sense.”

And Joseph, who also had a role in the 2015 Good Omens ra­dio se­ries, laughs, “There seem to be 20-year gaps be­tween work­ing with Neil. I hope he re­alises that my life is fi­nite and lets me work with him again. Un­like me, he’s go­ing to live for­ever!”

How The Mar­quis Got His Coat Back will air on BBC Ra­dio 4 on 4 Novem­ber at 2.15pm.

Pater­son Joseph is thank­ful Neil Gaiman fi­nally de­cided to track down his coat.

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