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AD01Sometimes Into The Arms Of God20130708by Christopher William Hill

Once described as 'the man who saved England', James Lees-Milne's work for the National Trust in the 1930s and 40s was instrumental in securing innumerable architectural gems for the nation. His waspish and witty diaries, which have inspired these three linked plays, chart the decline and fall of the English country house.

It's 1942 and Lees-Milne is billeted with the National Trust at West Wycombe Park - a world away from Blitz-ridden London. Lees-Milne is a rising star of the Trust. Invalided out of the army, he's looking for his own battles to fight and is determined to save the house and preserve it for the nation. But times are hard and the Trust is reliant on a considerable endowment before they can acquire a property - an endowment which the incumbent inhabitants, Johnnie and Helen Dashwood, can ill-afford to pay. Helen is an imperious host, but is desperate for paying guests - so when Nancy Mitford comes to stay, she's welcomed with open arms. Lees-Milne is delighted for the distraction, but it's difficult for guests to throw themselves into the house party spirit in sub-zero conditions. Fortunately, Nancy is obsessed with the Antarctic explorers and Captain Scott, even nicknaming the upstairs lavatory 'The Beardmore' (after the glacier of the same name), much to Helen's chagrin. But it's a brittle peace, as cloistered together, all the guests attempt to block out the war for as long as possible.

Produced and directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria and Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious, trying to save properties for the National Trust. In this first play, Samuel Barnett (The History Boys; Twenty Twelve) makes a guest appearance as Cecil Beaton.

Produced & directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria & Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious, trying to save properties for the National Trust. In this first play, Samuel Barnett (The History Boys; Twenty Twelve) makes a guest appearance as Cecil Beaton.

AD03 LASTWhat England Owes20130710by Christopher William Hill

As WW2 nears its conclusion, James Lees-Milne is sent to assess Faringdon House in Berkshire for the National Trust. Faringdon is home to the composer, artist and poet Gerald, Lord Berners, who has returned to England under a cloud, having spent most of the war in Rome. Lord Berners is an eccentric through-and-through - a man given to dying his doves to co-ordinate with the food he's serving and the once proud owner of a pet giraffe. Together with the handsome Robert Heber Percy and his wife, Jennifer, Lord Berners is part of an apparently successful ménage a trois. Lees-Milne finds it an inspirational relationship and is convinced it would be the perfect and most civilised lifestyle to lead. Berners is determined that provision must be made for his beloved Robert if the house is acquired by the Trust. And as Lees-Milne contemplates mortality, he considers what his own legacy will be.

Produced and directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria and Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious in trying to secure properties for the National Trust. In this play, Christopher Godwin (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; My Family and Other Animals) stars as the eccentric Gerald, Lord Berners.

Produced & directed by Marion Nancarrow

The three plays star Tobias Menzies (Rome; Game of Thrones ) as James Lees-Milne and Victoria Hamilton (Lark Rise to Candleford; Victoria & Albert) as the novelist Nancy Mitford and chart four years during the war when Lees-Milne was at his most industrious in trying to secure properties for the National Trust. In this play, Christopher Godwin (The Voyage of the Dawn Treader; My Family & Other Animals) stars as the eccentric Gerald, Lord Berners.