Of Mud and Flame: Penda’s Fen and the World Beyond

  • WG4

    Still from Penda’s Fen, Courtesy of BFI / BBC

  • WG1

    Still from Penda’s Fen, Courtesy of BFI / BBC

  • WG2

    Still from Penda’s Fen, Courtesy of BFI / BBC

  • WG3

    Still from Penda’s Fen, Courtesy of BFI / BBC

Past Event

This event was on Sat 29 Feb, 3:30pm – 6pm


Marking the publication of Strange Attractor Press’ Of Mud & Flame: The Penda’s Fen Sourcebooka volume of essays and archive material exploring the multiple realities of the legendary 1974 television drama, its renowned playwright David Rudkin will be in conversation with the film’s star Spencer Banks (TimeslipPennies From Heaven), chaired by actor and Penda’s Fen cast-member, Christopher Douglas (co-writer and star of BBC Radio 4’s long-running sitcom Ed Reardon’s Week). Also attending will be key fellow cast members, acclaimed actors Jennie Heslewood and Ian Hogg.

The discussion will take place after a screening of Penda’s Fen, introduced by medievalist and Of Mud & Flame contributor, Beth Whalley (King’s College, London), commemorating 1365 years since the death of the last Pagan King.

Penda’s Fen, a short synopsis by David Rudkin:

“In the pastoral landscape of Three Choirs England, a clergyman’s son, in his last days of school, has his idealistic value-system and the precious tokens of his self-image all broken away – his parentage, his nationality, his sexuality, his conventional patriotism and faith… Below the slopes of the Malvern Hills he has encounters with an angel, and with a demon, with the ghost of Elgar, the crucified Jesus, and with Penda, England’s last pagan king. In the final image, he turns away from his idealized landscape, to go into the world and adulthood with a value-system more anarchistic now, and readier to integrate the contradictions of experience.”

In one young man’s search for his sense of self, writer David Rudkin takes us on a magnificently ambiguous metaphysical journey quite unlike any other TV play. The cult status of Penda’s Fen is no doubt due to its potent mix of mysticism, music and landscape which taps into an elemental truth about who we are and our pagan past. Directed by Alan Clarke (Scum, The Firm) Penda’s Fen is widely considered to be writer David Rudkin’s finest work.

Concessionary tickets are available to members of Musicians Union, Writers Guild, Equity – this will be applicable at ticket check out.