A Cream Cracker under the Settee

A Cream Cracker under the Settee

Overview
A Cream Cracker Under The Settee is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett is a British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Born in Leeds, he attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research mediaeval history at the university for several years...

 in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads  series for the BBC. The series became very popular, moving onto BBC Radio, international theatre, becoming one of the best-selling audio book releases of all time and included as part of both the A-level and GCSE English syllabus. It was the sixth and final episode of the first series of Talking Heads.

A Cream Cracker under the Settee is played out as a monologue by Doris (Thora Hird
Thora Hird
Dame Thora Hird DBE was an English actress.-Early life and career:Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing...

), a seventy-five year old woman who is a widow, following her fall from the buffet (stool).
Discussion
Ask a question about 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee'
Start a new discussion about 'A Cream Cracker under the Settee'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
 
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
A Cream Cracker Under The Settee is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett is a British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Born in Leeds, he attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research mediaeval history at the university for several years...

 in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads  series for the BBC. The series became very popular, moving onto BBC Radio, international theatre, becoming one of the best-selling audio book releases of all time and included as part of both the A-level and GCSE English syllabus. It was the sixth and final episode of the first series of Talking Heads.

Storyline


A Cream Cracker under the Settee is played out as a monologue by Doris (Thora Hird
Thora Hird
Dame Thora Hird DBE was an English actress.-Early life and career:Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing...

), a seventy-five year old woman who is a widow, following her fall from the buffet (stool). Her disapproval of home-help, Zulema's cleaning leads her to attempt to clean a picture of her and Wilfred, her late husband, and subsequently her fall. Her position, now of suffering from a "numby" leg, gives her natural desire to find help. Thus she moves from her position on a chair, to the floor near where she fell, and finally to the door of her front house. An exhausted Doris drags herself back to the living room after failing to get help from the front door. Eventually she hears the voice of a policeman, enquiring as to why her home lights are off. Instead of asking for his help she lets him leave after telling him she was napping. It is assumed by the situation, and by the fact that the conclusions to Bennett's plays are typically bleak, that Doris later dies. Throughout the monologue she discusses past issues and events in her life, characters and situations such as the death of her baby, the possible implication of her obsessive cleaning. Although this gives no evidence that Doris suffers from OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder). Use of juxtaposition of humour and sadness is used frequently by Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett is a British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Born in Leeds, he attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research mediaeval history at the university for several years...

, as it is in many of the Talking Heads monologues to great effect. Such effects include the interaction of passing time. The televised monologue gives the impression of a dark evening as the end of her life is suggested; the passing of time reflecting the passing of her life. Further more the moving from the comfy position of her settee possibly indicates the movement from a secure and comfy position in life to her current situation. Issues such as treatment of the aged, growing old and life choices are constantly discussed throughout the monologue.

Reception


The episode was well received and picked up three nominations at the 1989 BAFTA Awards. Thora Hird
Thora Hird
Dame Thora Hird DBE was an English actress.-Early life and career:Hird was born in the Lancashire seaside town of Morecambe. She first appeared on stage at the age of two months in a play her father was managing...

 won the award for Best Actress
British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
- 1950s :*1955 Googie Withers*1956 Virginia McKenna*1957 Rosalie Crutchley*1958 Gwen Watford*1959 Catherine Lacey- 1960s :*1960 Catherine Lacey*1961 Billie Whitelaw*1962 Ruth Dunning*1963 Brenda Bruce*1964 Vivien Merchant*1965 Katherine Blake...

 ahead of two other actresses from Talking Heads episodes, Patricia Routledge
Patricia Routledge
Katherine Patricia Routledge, CBE is an English character comedy actress and singer. She is best known for her role as character Hyacinth Bucket in the British television series Keeping Up Appearances and Hetty Wainthropp in the British television series Hetty Wainthropp Investigates...

 (A Lady of Letters
A Lady of Letters
A Lady of Letters is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads series for the BBC. The series became very popular, moving onto BBC Radio, international theatre, becoming one of the best-selling audio book releases of all time and included as...

) and Dame Maggie Smith
Maggie Smith
Dame Margaret Natalie Smith, DBE , better known as Maggie Smith, is an English film, stage, and television actress who made her stage debut in 1952 and is still performing after 59 years...

 (A Bed Among the Lentils
A Bed Among the Lentils
A Bed Among the Lentils is a dramatic monologue written by Alan Bennett in 1987 for television, as part of his Talking Heads series for the BBC. The series became very popular, moving onto BBC Radio, international theatre, becoming one of the best-selling audio book releases of all time and...

). It was also nominated for Best Drama Series and Best Video Lighting.

See also

  • Talking Heads (series)
  • Alan Bennett
    Alan Bennett
    Alan Bennett is a British playwright, screenwriter, actor and author. Born in Leeds, he attended Oxford University where he studied history and performed with The Oxford Revue. He stayed to teach and research mediaeval history at the university for several years...

  • English A-level and GCSE's

External links