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