Vic Reeves and Michael Palin set to star in new show on Hartlepool monkey legend

The radio show will be on Radio 4 on Christmas Day. Picture BBC.
The radio show will be on Radio 4 on Christmas Day. Picture BBC.

The infamous tale of the Hartlepool monkey is set to be retold in a radio show starring Vic Reeves and Michael Palin.

The comedy-drama by Emmy-winning writer Ian Martin, with a cast including Michael Palin and Jim Moir, aka Vic Reeves.

It also stars BAFTA award winning Gina McKee, who appeared in the popular Bodyguard earlier this year, Toby Jones, who has appeared in a sting of hit movies and provided the voice of Dobby in the Harry Potter films, and Monica Dolan, who won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for playing serial killer Rosemary West in ITV drama Appropriate Adult in 2011.

Other parts played by Robin Berry and Laura Elphinstone, with Robin Berry as The Monkey.

The programme information says: "1804. Britain is at odds with Europe and at war with France, again. Paranoia is at boiling point. Sensational rumours flood the country. Napoleon’s spies are everywhere.

"When times are tough, people look for strong leadership. Alas, the people of the North Eastern fishing town of Hartlepool have a corrupt mayor, Tucker Palmer (Toby Jones) and a narcissistic vicar, Rev William Ferrier (Jim Moir aka Vic Reeves).

"The two men can’t stand one another, each (correctly) suspecting the other of lining his pocket at the expense of the parish, and each in competition for the favour of local land-owner aristo Lady Embleton (Gina McKee).

"One Sunday morning, Lady Embleton, Mayor Palmer and his formidable wife Mrs Palmer (Monica Dolan) are in the front pew as Ferrier delivers an impassioned sermon about the vain delusions of those with earthly power, when news comes from the harbour. A French ship has been spotted and it’s heading their way."

The show airs on Radio 4 at 2.15pm on Christmas Day.