Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky

By Rob Last edited 165 months ago
Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky

If you've got access to BBC4, don't forget that the serialisation of Patrick Hamilton's Twenty Thousand Streets Under The Sky trilogy starts tomorrow at 9:50pm.

Hamilton's book is one of those definitive London novels (Nick Hornby once said of it: "it's as if they've finally finished the stretch of motorway running from Dickens to Martin Amis"), if only for its depiction of the capital's seedier hostilieries.

Did you know, for example, that you could get waiter service in London pubs in the 20s?

And if you needed ay more convincing of his genius, consider, the fact that J.B. Priestley thought the best thing about Hamilton's writing was his depiction of:

"a kind of No Man's Land of shabby hotels, dingy boarding houses... [a] malevolence coming out of some mysterious darkness of evil."

Which, coming from Priestley, is a real compliment.

The BBC adaptation (which will undoubtedly make its way to terrestrial at some point, but if you you haven't shelled out for your set-top box you might want to look here) stars Bryan Dick (Blackpool) as Bob, Zoe Tapper (Pepys, Stage Beauty) as Jenny and Sally Hawkins (Fingersmith) as Ella.

There's also a documentary (Words, Whisky and Women) showing on BBC 4 on Wednesday (narrated by the teetotal Richard E. Grant), or you can read Ian Sinclair on cinematic adaptations of Hamilton's work here.

Last Updated 18 April 2005