Mapp and Lucia

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DVD cover from the Channel 4 series
The six Mapp and Lucia comic novels by E F Benson depict rivalries between middle-class women between the wars:
  1. Queen Lucia (1920) introduces Emmeline "Lucia" Lucas and her confidant and duet partner, the camp Georgie Pillson; Lucia is jealous of her role as the leader of society in the Cotswold town of Riseholme (thought to be modelled on Broadway, Worcestershire, rather than the real Riseholme near Lincoln.
  2. Miss Mapp (1923) introduces Elizabeth Mapp, who surveys all her neighbour's business in the seaside town of Tilling (based on Rye, where Benson lived).
  3. Lucia in London (1927) covers Lucia's attempt to launch herself onto the London scene.
  4. Mapp and Lucia (1931) has Lucia, now widowed, moving to Tilling, followed by the devoted Georgie.
  5. Lucia's Progress (1935) continues the rivalry between Lucia and Mapp.
  6. Trouble for Lucia (1939) has Lucia achieving her ambition of becoming Mayor of Tilling.

There have been two television series based on the books. The 1985–1986 Channel 4 series featured Geraldine McEwan as Lucia, and Nigel Hawthorne as Georgie.

"Enter Lucia's confidante and companion in piano duets, the fey and bizarrely dressed Georgie Pillson – portrayed with undisguised relish by Nigel Hawthorne, straight off the back of his Sir Humphrey Appleby in Yes, Minister. Perhaps the intensely private Hawthorne, before he was involuntarily "outed" around the time of the 1995 Oscars, felt liberated in playing a gay man – although with Mapp and Lucia being set in 1930, the question of Georgie's sexuality is never directly addressed."[1]

The 1914 BBC TV series featured Anna Chancellor as Lucia and Steve Pemberton as Georgie.


  1. Gerard Gilbert, "Mapp and Lucia: How to best the ultimate social snobs", Independent on Sunday, 6 April 2014