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Brian Gulliver's Travels

Brian Gulliver's Travels
Genre Satire/Sitcom
Running time 30 minutes
Country United Kingdom
Language(s) English
Home station BBC Radio 4 (Series 1)
BBC Radio 4 Extra (Series 2)
Starring Neil Pearson
Mariah Gale
Paul Bhattacharjee
Creator(s) Bill Dare
Writer(s) Bill Dare and Dan Tetsell (Series 2: Ep 3)
Producer(s) Steven Canny
Air dates 21 February 2011 to 30 July 2012
No. of series 2
No. of episodes 12
Website At BBC Radio 4

Brian Gulliver's Travels is a satirical comedy series and also a novel created and written by Bill Dare, first broadcast on 21 February 2011 on BBC Radio 4. A second series first broadcast on 25 June 2012 on BBC Radio 4 Extra. The series is a modern pastiche of the Jonathan Swift novel Gulliver's Travels. The series revolves around the character Brian Gulliver, played by Neil Pearson. Gulliver is a travel documentary presenter who at the beginning of series is revealed to have been missing for six years, claiming to have travelled to the previously undiscovered continent of Clafrenia. His stories lead him to being put in psychiatric hospital where they believe that he is suffering some sort of delusion. In each episode he is visited by his daughter Rachel (Mariah Gale), who writes about the countries that he claims to have visited.[1]


Brian Gulliver's Travels is created and written by Bill Dare. According to the BBC website: "For years Bill Dare wanted to create a satire about different worlds exploring [Rudyard] Kipling's idea that we travel, 'not just to explore civilizations, but to better understand our own'. But science fiction and space ships never interested him, so he put the idea on ice. Then Brian Gulliver arrived and meant that our hero could be lost in a fictional world without the need for any sci-fi."[2]

The BBC website also says that the original Gulliver's Travels was the only book that Dare read whilst he was at university.[2]

The Book

The novel, inspired by some stories in the radio series, is published by Pilrig Press, 4 July 2013.

It begins:

"At half past ten, nine days after my 21st birthday, I made my way to a psychiatric hospital in Highgate, North London, to meet my father, who had been missing for six years. In the two weeks since his reappearance, he had sent numerous emails in which he described “extraordinary worlds, and curious beings".


Of the novel, Ian Hislop wrote: "A modern tale that keeps the flavour of the original classic, cleverly managing to provoke both laughter - and thought".

Gillian Reynolds, radio critic for The Daily Telegraph, praised Brian Gulliver's Travels saying that Gulliver was a "marvellous character" and that the series was "allusive, relevant, full of surprises, satirical in the true spirit of Swift. And very funny."[3] Talking about the first episode, which was a satire on health and doctors, she said: "A nimbler reflection on achieving a national state of health is hard to imagine."[4]

A review of the first episode in The Stage said that, "the point of Bill Dare's highly original format was to both satirise and issue a warning about the nanny state" and that, "The series began on an amusing and thought-provoking note."[5]


The first episode of Brian Gulliver's Travels was made available on the BBC's "Comedy of the Week" podcast on 28 February 2011.[6] Likewise, the first episode of the second series was also released in the "Comedy of the Week" podcast (9 August 2012). The entire first series was released by AudioGo on 8 August 2011.[7]

The novel is available at many retail outlets and online stores including Amazon, Waterstones, and Pilrig Press.


Series 1

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Series 2

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See also


  1. Wolf, Ian. "Brian Gulliver's Travels". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 "Brian Gulliver's Travels: Episode 1". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  3. Reynolds, Gillian (21 February 2011). "Today's radio highlights". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 21 February 2011. 
  4. Reynolds, Gillian (22 February 2011). "Classic Serial: Show Boat, Brian Gulliver's Travels, Private Passions, radio review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  5. "Radio review - drama". The Stage. 25 February 2011. Retrieved 27 February 2011. 
  6. Sykes, Jaine (10 January 2011). "New Radio 4 Comedy of the Week podcast: Launches Today". BBC Comedy Blog. Retrieved 22 February 2011. 
  7. "'Brian Gulliver's Travels' Merchandise". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 9 August 2011. 

External links