Celebrity Rye trip inspires radio story

Writer Kellie Jackson (centre) with producer Ceclia de Wolff (left) and Serena Evans (right) who read the script for Kellie's short story 'Hollywood and Rye'.
Writer Kellie Jackson (centre) with producer Ceclia de Wolff (left) and Serena Evans (right) who read the script for Kellie's short story 'Hollywood and Rye'.

Charlie Chaplin’s visit to Rye provided the inspiration for a play on national radio on Sunday (July 12).

Hollywood and Rye is a 15-minute story loosely-based on the actor’s visit to the town, documented by the signed menu in the Mermaid Inn.

The series is called A Pocketful of Rye and is produced by the Brighton-based Pier Productions.

Kellie Jackson wrote Sunday’s short story and after visiting Rye in January she fell in love with the town.

“Rye is a magical place, there are stories everywhere,” she said.

The writer from South London said she had a lovely couple of days walking around Rye and taking in the cobbled streets and was inspired by one evening visit to the Mermaid Inn.

“I stayed at the Old Borough Arms and the landlady told me I had to visit the Mermaid Inn,” she said.

“Earlier in the day, a few ladies had told me about some ghost stories and on my way to the inn I spooked myself around the church!

“Once I got to the inn, I was struck by the wall with the signed menu from Charlie Chaplin and the story came from there.”

The short story was recorded live in The Barn Theatre at Smallhythe Place, the former home of actress Ellen Terry from 1899 to 1928.

Serena Evans read the story in front of a packed house.

Ms Jackson’s story centres around Dot Buckle, proprietress of The Whistling Kettle, who has heard a rumour Charlie Chaplin is in town and rushes to The Mermaid Inn to see if it’s true but is greeted with a blast from the past.

To listen to Hollywood and Rye visit: www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b061pvbf.

The next story, A Rye Boy, is an evocative tale of a farmer struggling to deal with his wife when a sculptor comes to town.

It will be aired on Sunday, July 19, at 7.45pm on Radio 4.

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