Incredibly Guilty - A Comic Moral Fable by Marcy Kahan

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BBC Radio 4, 14 January 2011
The action of this farcical comedy stemmed from an unfortunate incident one morning when Ed Hanson (Stephen Mangan) stepped out of his London home for an interview to save his job at the local library, and espied polymathic National Treasure Penhaligon Rhinehart (Sean Baker) riding his bicycle on the other side of the street. Ed called out a cheery compliment; Pen turned to wave at him and crashed into a lorry. Pen fell into a coma as he was taken hospital, and the nation mourned the loss of one of its best-loved personalities. Ed tried to carry on as normal, but the thought that he had caused Pen's demise proved too much for him, and he resolved to admit his guilt to the world. Unfortunately no one took him seriously: most of Pen's so-called 'friends' were glad to see the back of him (despite his affable public persona, he was an incredibly vain man), and refused to listen to a nobody. Ed's mother (Christine Kavanagh) and barrister girlfriend Lucinda (Naomi Frederick) simply think that he was barking mad. Ed and Pen had one more encounter in hospital, as Ed wormed his way into the intensive care unit: Pen woke up, cursed Ed, and relapsed into a coma once more.
The only way Ed could deal with his guilt was to quit London altogether and set up home in the rural south of England with Kitty (Deeviya Mair), his one-time colleague at the library. Ed mended bicycles for a living, while Kitty set up a new children's library for the local community.
Incredibly Guilty took numerous pot-shots at the idea of celebrity. Most television and radio personalities are so preoccupied with themselves that they cannot entertain the idea that people might dislike them intensely. Those employed to look after celebrities - agents, pa's, minders - are equally narcissistic, predominantly interested in how much money they can squeeze out of their clients. The fans are portrayed as willing dupes of the media circus, believing everything that they see and hear on television and radio. Perhaps the only way to overcome this mass hypnosis is to reject it completely, and follow Candide's advice by cultivating one's own garden - even if that garden is far removed from the metropolis. The director was Sally Avens.