Thomas Paine meets William Blake

Here’s a marvellous dramatisation of a fictional meeting between Tom Paine and William Blake, from Jack Shepherd’s play In Lambeth, aired on BBC2 in 1993. It’s acted brilliantly, with Mark Rylance as William Blake, Lesley Clare O’Neill as Catherine Blake, and Bob Peck as Tom Paine. I love the way Peck combines Paine‚Äôs native Norfolk accent with the American accent he would have picked up in the 1770s and 1780s.

The whole thing is 40 minutes long, spread over five YouTube clips (below). There’s more to the original than these clips, actually. Nudity at the start was removed for the upload to YouTube, and I’m pretty sure that when I first saw this on TV in 1993, Blake told Paine that he couldn’t have revolution until there’d been revelation, which I didn’t hear on the YouTube clips.

If you only listen to a bit, choose the end of part 3, from 7:15 to the end (9:40).

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