In 1996, Neil Gaiman’s fantasy novel Neverwhere was published. In 2013, Dirk Maggs adapted the novel for a radio play on BBC Radio 4. In 2015, Gaiman published a short story, a sort of deleted scene from Neverwhere, which was called How the Marquis Got His Coat Back. In 2016, BBC Radio 4 aired the radio play of this short story, also adapted by Dirk Maggs.
Although Neverwhere had starred David Harewood as the Puss-in-Boots-inspired Marquis de Carabas, the adaptation How the Marquis Got His Coat Back re-cast the Marquis as Paterson Joseph. Joseph had played the Marquis in the 1996 television adaptation, so his casting here has a certain serendipity. I have nothing against Harewood’s portrayal, but in my opinion, How the Marquis Got His Coat Back shows one of the greatest fantasy characters ever performed by the best possible person for the job.
Years ago, I spoke with Paterson Joseph for a podcast interview, and he expressed his interest in wanting to play the Marquis again someday. What a thrill it is to see that happen! Joseph also spoke about the real coat that was used in the show and how it’s gone missing. Hopefully he will not have to deal with scary elephants, mushroom dust, and hypnotic shepherds to get it back! Listen to a clip of Paterson Joseph’s interview here:
How the Marquis Got His Coat Back feels more like a deleted scene than a spin-off or fan-fiction (believe me, even authors who are the original creator of a franchise can create sequels that feel like fan-fiction). I don’t think I’m taking a risk in saying that most people wish there was more of the mysterious Marquis in Neverwhere, and you won’t be disappointed. You get plenty of sarcastic, witty remarks, but you also see the Marquis at his most vulnerable (and in a poncho no less!) and even meet a member of his family. We meet new characters, one of whom is played by Neil Gaiman, as well as familiar ones, like Old Bailey (played by Bernard Cribbins). We learn a lot more about London Below and the different kinds of people who reside there. If you enjoyed Neverwhere, you don’t want to miss out on this new one-hour adventure.