Tales of Britain

By Jem Roberts

The finest, funniest stories of England, Scotland & Wales, refreshed for the 21st century. By Brother Bernard, as told to Jem Roberts.

Thursday, 7 September 2017



FIRST THINGS FIRST: We're sadly still not up to the 1/3 funded point a week on, so if any of our backers knows any way we can spread the word further, perhaps with coverage on radio, like the BBC Bristol tales we recorded, or in print, online, or via any means, it will require us all to pull together and do anything we can to interest our fellow story-lovers in pledging for this roadmap of legends. We cannot do this without you.

Anyway, with @FolkloreThursday's theme today being FOOD, what better than to serve up a nice big KNUCKER PIE?

The Knucker is one of our oldest and most loved tales in the Tales of Britain collection. It's true that of the 77 tales in the book, there are a fair few dragon-slaying stories, and if you're one of those tiresome reductive academics who like to boil stoires down to basic thesis/antithesis/synthesis, they all involve a monster being overcome one way or another. But looking at the four we have included – The Lambton Worm, The Saffron Cockatrice, The Bisterne Dragon and of course, The Knucker, each tale has different characters, with different motivations, fighting monsters in different ways – and with different outcomes. And The Knucker is an absolute doozy, killed as he was by the most disgusting PIE ever baked!

The tale takes place in Lyminster, down in West Sussex, a village west of Brighton – where visitors can not only see the grave of the brave Knucker Slayer, and enjoy his tale retold in stained glass at St. Mary's church, they can also travel out to the actual Knuckerholes where the obnoxious beast lived. Presumably someone in the village is also selling Knucker Pies, or they're missing a trick. 

Performing this Sussex folktale has been a mainstay of our live shows since the start – with me (Brother Bernard) as the horrible dragon against Kate Harbour (Sister Sal)'s brilliant chubby hero, Jimmy Puttock. Jimmy's voice still delivers shivers for me, as it reminds me what a great resume Kate has, with vocal characterisations reminiscent of her work on shows like Bob the Builder and Shaun the Sheep. It's an honour to perform with such an entertaining professional...

And the great news for you all is that we have a brand new LIVE SHOW to announce, at the Rondo Theatre in Bath, on Saturday 21st October at 7pm. Ticket-booking is not on their site just yet, but please don't worry about that, it will be the more the merrier, just remember the date and come and join us in an hour or so of big bombastic folktale silliness, with free sweeties. And as you can see from the pic below of an early show, The Knucker Pie will be pride of place!

There will be further live shows, and other developments, which hopefully will all work together to help us all reach 100% with this campaign, but to return to our first point – we cannot do it without every single person out there who believes in this legendary roadmap, and wants to hold it in their hands, taking the initiative to ensure pledges from anywhere we can get them. Together, we can do this. It's a monster challenge, but we can vanquish it!

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