Sunday, 17 July 2016

Squire Haggard - I'll Fight Your Tailor to the Death
















































Deplorably Funny
I have a copy of Squire Haggard's Journal somewhere, but now I can't find it. This is a shame, as it's a great read and out of print as far as I can gather. The introduction I looted online gives you a flavour:

A bawdy parody of a late 18th-century gentleman's diary. Amos Haggard is a gargantuan, warty toad of a character. Along with Roderick, his idiot sidekick son, he carouses with prostitutes, imbibes copious amounts of wine, evicts the poor and fires his pistols at poachers, dissenters and foreigners.

Squire Haggard's Journal was written as an epistolary novel by Michael Green in the form of diary entries. The book was first published in 1977. As well as Three Men in a Boat, Squire Haggard's Journal is a comic standby at Tweed Towers.

I also located a sample diary entry, which gives you a flavour:

Sept. 30: Drizzle. Grunge, who at times has a Philosophick turn, does not approve of
my smuggled brand V barrel. ‘One day, sir,' he said, ‘there will be no barriers to trade
and the smugglers will be out of business. I foresee a time, perhaps in about 223 years,
when all Europe will be one; when trade will pass unhindered between all States
without the imposition of excise and men will sail to Calais and return laden with as
much French wine as they can carry. Yet no Revenue Officer will hinder them.'

At this my face grew stern and I spake harshly. 'Let me never hear such sentiments
again in this house!' I cried. 'Mark my words, the day this country allies itself to those
mincing pederasts, papists and dancing-masters in Europe will see the end of all we
value. Our golden sovereigns will be replaced by groschen or livres; our roast beef
supplanted by fricassees; our lives subject to the whim of envious French officials. I
would pay double, aye treble, for brandy rather than see that happen.'

Tweed TV - Haggard the TV Series




















I have no quarrel with you, sir, but I'll fight your tailor to the death.

The quote above is from the comedy TV series Haggard, which was written by Eric Chappell — Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh, Duty Free — and based on Squire Haggard's Journal.

Haggard was broadcast in the UK from 1990 to 1992, running for two seven-episode series. Keith Barron plays the Squire, Reece Dinsdale his son Roderick, a headstrong Regency Buck, and Sam Kelly his faithful manservant Grunge. If the premise sounds a little like Blackadder, perhaps Squire Haggard's Journal was an inspiration for that (not so good) comedy series.

Haggard is a rip-roaring romp of a period comedy where much of the plot revolves around the Squire attempting to restore the family's fortunes by any means necessary. Being written by Eric Chappell, the dialogue is first-rate.





















The series was woefully overlooked when it first came out and remains a bit of hidden gem, but it can still be enjoyed...

Oddly, the DVD box set of Haggard is only available on US import, but I suppose that's better than nothing.

Otherwise, all the episodes can be tracked down online. Of particular interest, gents, might the episode called Beau Haggard. Haggard accuses his dapper son of being a 'peacock, a popinjay and a real prick-me-dainty' and then proceeds to sharpen up his own dress when the Prince Regent wishes to meet with him. Great fun.

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