The Young Visiters

I was surprised to find out that The Young Visiters was really written by a nine-year old - it is an amusing look at the upper class of 19th century England. (This is one of the BBC videos that I recently discovered. Thanks to Laurie for recommending it!)

This made-for-TV British comedy begins at the turn of the century, as bumbling ironmonger Alfred Salteena (Jim Broadbent) meets a pretty girl named Ethel Monticue (Lyndsey Marshal) on a train and invites her to his London flat. Hoping to impress the girl, Alfred brags about all the "important" people he knows; swallowing the line whole, the covetous Ethel insists upon meeting Alfred's illustrious acquaintance. Enter Lord Bernard Clark (Hugh Laurie), a seedy nobleman who offers to train Alfred to be a social lion so that he'll be more acceptable to Ethel; what Lord Bernard doesn't tell Alfred is that he intends to keep Ethel for himself. Much of the humor arises from Alfred's experiences at a high-society "boot camp" run by an indigent aristocrat, the Earl of Clincham (Bill Nighy). The Young Visiters was written in 1890 by Daisy Ashford -- who was all of nine years old at the time! The book remained on the shelf until it was published, misspellings and all, in 1919, with a preface by James M. Barrie (whom many reviewers suspected of being the novel's true author). [synopsis from Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide]

Also featuring Sophie Thompson and Guy Henry, see details on Imdb

Lyndsey Marshal, Jim Broadbent and Sally Hawkins

Geoffrey Palmer and Hugh Laurie

Bill Nighy cracked me up!

I liked this review found on IMDb by djenson1
I came to this sideways from the original novella, which was an absolute hoot. The film was a wonderful adaptation, pulling dialog directly from little Daisy's masterwork and adding to it in the same flavor. At once absurd and moving, it's the slightly wobbly story of an ordinary man who aspires to a higher station and the pretty girl desperate to hobnob among the nobility herself. They embark together, yet separately, and manage to achieve most of their ambitions, but not quite all they'd hoped. The characters are vivid and portrayed by top talent in Jim Broadbent, Lyndsey Marshal, Hugh Laurie, and Bill Nighy. They're all a bit dim-witted and bombastic, but you really feel for their ineptness. It's Broadbent's show—altho he has to fight off Nighy at times as the drunken, roguish earl. Simultaneously insightful (princes are ordinary people too) and oblivious (Ethel spends an awful lot of time alone with men she barely knows), The Young Visiters is both children's literature for adults and adult literature for children.


  1. I'm so glad you go a chance to see this film and enjoyed it.
    This is a family favorite as I've mentioned before.
    The story does seem a bit odd until you understand that it is written from a 9-year-old's point of view. A very imaginative 9=year-old who loves to know the details of things. The film is very true to the book with few exceptions.
    Now I'll have to watch it again! :)

  2. Great blog- I'm glad I found it! I love period movies and am always looking for something new to watch, so this will be a big help. I'd never heard of "The Young Victoria" so I'm excited to watch it in a few months. Plus there are several on your list that I haven't seen, so I'm going to have to add them to my Neflix list. Thanks! :)

  3. Laurie, you remind me of how I want to rewatch everything, I just can't get ahead!

    Nat, glad I can add to your Netflix list! I adore finding out about new ones myself. btw, you can watch Young Victoria online if you don't want to wait ;)

  4. Fun to be reminded of this. The book by Daisy Ashford is wonderful - it was a favourite for me as a child. I remember quite enjoying the film but feeling that the book was still funnier!

  5. I'll have to keep an eye out for the book!



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