Revolting People

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Not to be confused with Heydon Prowse § Revolting.
Revolting People
Revolting People S1.jpg
CD cover of the first series
Other names Tollers
Genre Historical sitcom
Running time 30 minutes
Country of origin United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4
Starring Andy Hamilton
Jay Tarses
James Fleet
Hugh Dennis
Tony Maudsley
Sophie Thompson (Series 1)
Jan Ravens (Series 2-3)
Julia Hills (Series 4)
Felicity Montagu (Series 1)
Penelope Nice (Series 2-3)
Susie Blake
Created by Andy Hamilton
Jay Tarses
Written by Andy Hamilton
Jay Tarses
Produced by Paul Mayhew-Archer
Original release 18 January 2000 – 6 June 2006
No. of series 4 (up to 2006)
No. of episodes 24 (up to 2006)
Website Official website

Revolting People is a BBC Radio 4 situation comedy set in colonial Baltimore, Maryland, just before the American Revolutionary War. The series is written by the Briton Andy Hamilton and the American Jay Tarses, with Tarses playing a sour shopkeeper named Samuel Oliphant and Hamilton playing a cheerfully corrupt, one-legged, one-eyed, one-armed, one-eared one-nostrilled British soldier, Sergeant Roy McGurk, billeted on him.

Samuel's children are Mary, in love with McGurk's commanding officer Captain Brimshaw while at the same time operating as a notorious anti-British pamphleteer under the pseudonym Spartacus; Cora, in an unconsummated marriage with the pompous pro-British official Ezekiel but nevertheless a mother; and the dimwitted Joshua, whose favourite recreation is wrestling bears.

Repeats on the series now play on BBC Radio 4 Extra (formerly BBC Radio 7).


Additional roles played by Philip Pope, Michael Fenton Stevens, Rebecca Front and the cast. Series 1 had guest appearances by William Hootkins as Samuel's brother Dan, and Timothy West as General Venables. Produced by Paul Mayhew-Archer

Episode list[edit]

Series 1 (2000)[edit]

Originally ran in 2000. Revolved around the imposition of martial law in Baltimore and the springing up of a torrid, though also chaste, love affair between Oliphant's daughter Mary and an officer of the local British garrison, Captain Brimshaw. The show starts on 5 March 1770, the day of the Boston Massacre.

  1. 18 January – Storm Clouds
  2. 25 January – More Storm Clouds
  3. 1 February – Even More Storm Clouds
  4. 8 February – Tons of Storm Clouds
  5. 15 February – A Helluva Lot of Storm Clouds
  6. 22 February – An Incredible Amount of Storm Clouds

This series was released on CD on 3 September 2007.

Series 2 (2001)[edit]

Originally ran in 2001. Less continuous than series 1 but developed the same theme with the added introduction of Oliphant's long-departed wife reappearing as a lesbian (to McGurk's lecherous satisfaction).

  1. 24 April – Trying Times
  2. 1 May – Even More Trying Times
  3. 8 May – Some More Trying Times
  4. 15 May – And Yet Even More Trying Times
  5. 22 May – A Bunch More Trying Times
  6. 29 May – Still in Trying Times

This series was released on CD on 7 January 2008.

Series 3 (2004)[edit]

The third series originally ran in 2004 and consisted of stand-alone episodes parodying various classic films with a final episode that turned the series on its head.

  1. 27 May – Young Love
  2. 3 June – A Kiss is Just a Kiss (parodying Casablanca)
  3. 10 June – The God-Given Talent
  4. 17 June – Over the Rainbow (parodying The Wizard of Oz)
  5. 24 June – Them Thar Hills (parodying gold rush westerns)
  6. 1 July – Secrets And Lies

Series 4 (2006)[edit]

First broadcast in 2006, and repeated from 31 March 2007.

  1. 2 May – Ezekiel is Kidnapped – Samuel's pompous son-in-law, Ezekiel, is kidnapped by a rebel militia
  2. 9 May – McGurk Runs the Shop – Samuel goes in search of his cousin
  3. 16 May – George Washington[4] – Samuel realises he's in the middle of a war when half his shop is burnt down by colonists and the other half by the British.[5]
  4. 23 May – Pirates – Samuel, McGurk and the others flee to England
  5. 30 May – Reunion – Samuel, McGurk and the others arrive in London
  6. 6 June – The King – Samuel, McGurk and the others finally meet King George III.[6]


  1. ^ a b Series 1
  2. ^ a b Series 2 and 3
  3. ^ Series 4
  4. ^ The episode centres on Capt Brimshaw's attempt to convince Washington to negotiate a peace with Britain.
  5. ^ This episode opened with a nightmare in which Samuel is sent to Hell for indecision. The Devil turns out to resemble McGurk; a reference to Andy Hamilton's role as Satan in Old Harry's Game.
  6. ^ They nearly manage to get him to call off the war, until Mary accidentally implies that the war is "all about oil" (in a reference to a criticism made by the opposition to the Iraq War) and re-awakens Britain's interest in keeping the rebellious colony.

External links[edit]