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Since 2006, David has written and performed with sketch trio The Penny Dreadfuls alongside Humphrey Ker and Thom Tuck. After a run of hugely successful shows at The Edinburgh Festival Fringe they found their home on BBC Radio 4, creating two series of The Brothers Faversham, a fictional biographical anthology of Victorian Britain's greatest family, and a string of historical comedy plays.



Photo Archive


Radio Plays
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Richard III Rebothered (2020)

written by David Reed


Rather than a conniving and treacherous hunchback, Richard was an honest and loyal warrior with only a slight spinal kink, nothing you'd notice if you weren't looking for it. This is the story of how, through the invention of the printing press, a good man became the first victim of fake news and how The Tudor dynasty was built on a foundation of lies by the world's first spin-doctor, Henry Tudor.

Guest starring Celeste Dring.

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Hadrian's Beard (2019)

written by David Reed

In 122 AD Emperor Hadrian visited Britannia with the express intention of building a wall across the entire country. But the mysterious disappearance of The Ninth Legion plunges him into a rip roaring adventure of danger and self discovery, amongst some truly terrifying women.

Guest starring Tony Gardner & Mina Anwar.

Don Quixote (2018)

written by David Reed

Published in two volumes in the early 17th Century, Cervantes' Spanish classic Don Quixote is famous as the world's first modern novel; a ground-breaking piece of art that influenced countless generations of writers and at 800 plus pages of dense prose, one of the most unreadable novels ever. Writer David Reed has read it so that you don't have to and condensed this mighty tome into an hour's rip-roaring entertainment. A meditation on the age of chivalry, insanity and truth. A quest of windmills, magic and donkeys. Join peasant Sancho and the man who thinks he's a Knight as they travel together locked in a quest to save those who don't want saving and unravel enchantments which may or may not only exist .

Guest starring Sylvester McCoy, Amanda Abbington & Vivienne Acheampong.

Le Carré On Spying (2017)

written by David Reed

David Cornwell (the real name of the spy and thriller writer John Le Carré) is the star of this comedy drama as we follow his desperate efforts to uncover the latest mole in the secret service. John F Kennedy's official visit to Berlin looms and the pressure is on to get to the truth. Dramatic tension and big laughs abound in this seventh comedy play by acclaimed sketch group The Penny Dreadfuls.

Guest starring Miles Jupp, Mark Heap & Margaret Cabourn-Smith.

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The Curse of the Beagle (2016)

written by David Reed

In 1831, a 22-year-old Charles Darwin set sail on HMS Beagle for a five-year voyage that changed the course of his life. He later published his stories of the trip, but in this re-imagining The Penny Dreadfuls uncover the untold story that Darwin kept to himself.

Guest starring Margaret Cabourn-Smith.

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Odyssey (2015)
written by David Reed
The Penny Dreadfuls take on Homer's tale of Odysseus's epic journey home from the Trojan Wars and the incredible monsters and enchantresses he encounters en route.
Guest starring Robert Webb, Margaret Cabourn-Smith & Lolly Adefope
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Macbeth Rebothered (2014)
written by David Reed
It’s the Scottish Play, but not as we know it: The Penny Dreadfuls present a rebooted version of the classic story that paints the noble King in a very different light.
Guest starring Greg McHugh, Susan Calman & Margaret Cabourn-Smith.
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Hereward the Wake (2012)
written by David Reed
Why has this Englishman, responsible for leading the fight against the occupation of William The Conqueror, been forgotten? The Penny Dreadfuls explain how the story didn't end when they ran out of embroidery cotton on the Bayeux Tapestry.
Guest starring Justin Edwards, Marek Larwood & Margaret Cabourn-Smith
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Revolution (2011)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
The Penny Dreadfuls tell the epic story of the French Revolution – including the execution of the King and the slaughter of thousands at the guillotine - in just one hour, with jokes.
Guest starring Richard E. Grant, Sally Hawkins & Margaret Cabourn-Smith.
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Guy Fawkes (2009)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
What exactly are we supposed to remember on the 5th of November? The Penny Dreadfuls take a fresh look at the build-up to and aftermath of the Gunpowder Plot.
Guest starring Kevin Eldon, Miles Jupp & Andrew Pugsley.
Radio Series
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Listen here
The Brothers Faversham (2008)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
Anthology series about the high-achieving offspring of Victorian Britain's greatest secret agent, Alexandra Faversham. From Horatius the Soldier, through Titus the Sportsman, to identical-twin industrialists Perseus & Lucius.
Guest starring Miles Jupp & Ingrid Oliver
Stage Shows
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The Penny Dreadfuls (2010)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
Gritty urban sketch show set entirely in a gritty urban environment. At night. Includes boy racers, garage wrestling and a Dragon called Mr Princess. Gritty. 
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The Neverman (2009)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
A man with no memory wakes up on a deserted beef-themed theme-park island. As he solves the mystery of his own identity, he becomes embroiled in a sinister conspiracy and must team up with a northern copper and a small Geordie boy to stop the sinister Dr Loveable.
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Aeneas Faversham Forever (2008)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
Victorian children's author Rufus Hambledon and disgraced policeman John McAllister must stop a sinister cult from raising a long dead Oyster God buried deep beneath The Thames.
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Aeneas Faversham Returns (2007)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
Victorian sketch show including an invisible man, Turkish spies and Don Diego de los Pantalones Fantasticos.
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Aeneas Faversham (2006)
written by Humphrey Ker, David Reed & Thom Tuck
Victorian sketch show including Captain Bwarg!, Horatio T. Station and Reverend the Clown.
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