There are few things more quintessentially English than the expression “quintessentially English”, but one of them might be Simon Callow playing the part of Charles Dickens. Which he does a lot, and with more ham than Sainsbury’s.
(note: that's Simon Callow the Mr Beebe in Room with a View, not Simon Cowell the Mr 'Boo' in Pop Idol).
The Times today reports that Mr Callow is to don the wiry beard once more, but this time in the forthcoming series of Doctor Who.
Callow says: “Dr Who ends up in Cardiff in 1869, where Dickens is on a book tour, and runs into the writer, as you do. Together they battle an alien infestation.”
An intriguing prospect, but I can’t help wondering what exactly Dickens can bring to the alien-battling party. Granted, he could certainly be relied upon to come up with an extremely silly name for the monster, but what else? Some sharp social commentary, a few bon-mots and a slap-up Christmas dinner with all the trimmings?