Chris Shepherd - A new Edna Welthorpe Letter
Read BAFTA winning filmmaker Chris Shepherd's Edna Welthorpe letters.
Joe Orton, Edna Welthorpe, Play, playwright, Leicester, Letters, letters, Chris Shepherd
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Chris Shepherd

To: Burtons Biscuits

Dear Burtons Biscuits,

I would like to thank you for your wonderful confectionary concoctions. Your biscuits are delightedly consumed with much avarice by myself. Wagon Wheels in particular have an impact upon my psyche.


I first ate a Wagon Wheel in 1972. I remember it clearly as was spending some time is hospital. I don’t like to talk about it but I had a dose of TB and almost died. When I clung onto life I had a Wagon Wheel in my hand. It was massive. I nibbled away on it for a week. Indeed you could live a month on one! Eating your biscuit was a beacon of hope to me as I didn’t think I would survive my treatment. I have very happy recollections of that Wagon Wheel.


Unfortunately I recently purchased a new Wagon Wheel thinking I would recapture this vivid juncture. I was grief-stricken. I held what looked like a two pence piece made of chocolate. The moment I ate it the marshmallow tasted rancid. The chocolate stuck to the top of my palette bringing on nausea and when ever I now think about the experience I have an attack.


I remember clearly that the original Wagon Wheel was at least 5 or maybe 6 inches in diameter. I’m very precise about things like this as I measure most things with a ruler. It would be good to know why your beloved brand has being doing a disappearing act over the years? Can you please provide an explanation of what has happened?

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)


Dear Edna,

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding the size of Wagon Wheels.

I have confirmed with our Brand team the size of the wagon wheels have not reduced (although you may have seen our mini ones too which of course are smaller than the original size Wagon Wheels). Popular belief is that the size has reduced although as customer’s used the product as children, their hands were of course smaller and therefore the product seemed much larger. 

There is also some general info available on our website which you may be interested to see.

Kindest Regards,


Customer Care Team

Burtons Biscuits Co.

Tel: 0151 676 2352


Chris Shepherd is a BAFTA-nominated, multi-award-winning director, writer producer and curator. From his early days as an animation director Chris worked on comedy series such as Arthur Mathews and Graham Linehan’s Big Train and Chris Morris’s Nathan Barley. Chris has written and directed many internationally acclaimed shorts for broadcasters such as the BBC, Channel 4, Arte and Canal+ and has won over 50 international film awards. His latest film, Johnno’s Dead, won Best British Short at the London International Animation Festival in 2016. He is also an animation lecturer at Middlesex University.


Find out more about Chris Shepherd by clicking here

To: National Gallery

Dear National Gallery,

I wanted to write to you as I have recently embarked on an artistic odyssey which has made me germinate and flourish as an artist in my mature years. I paint and more recently embarked on circumscribing scenes around and about Evesham. I frequent here as I volunteer in the national morris dancing museum. Who says dancing round the maypole can’t be exuberant!


I attach an image of my objet d’art which I consider to be my summit. It is called The Little Wood By The Bus Stop. It is my foremost work and I feel sure that you will feel a passion for it. Just like my friends who all say I am a natural artist. It took me three months to create and I have put my heart and soul into it. I fashioned it between stays in my local hospital while having minor operations.


I’m very proud of it so I would like you to include it in Room 34. Ideally close to The Cornfield and Hay Wain by John Constable. My Little Wood would compliment these paintings as they all deal with what is triumphant about Britain. The lighting is also very tasteful in that gallery I would feel sure it would orchestrate well with my version of the great outdoors. I am sure you will agree.


I do hope that this plan meets with your approval.

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)


Dear Edna,

Thank you very much for your email regarding your artwork.


Since the National Gallery houses a permanent Collection of Western European painting 1250-1900 only, the Gallery does not acquire works by contemporary artists and we only exhibit contemporary works under Associate Artist Scheme supported by the Rootstein Hopkins Foundation.


Perhaps you may wish to contact a more contemporary institution for further assistance.


Please follow the links below:


I would also suggest looking at:


I wish you every success in the future.

Kind Regards,


Visitor Engagement Department

The National Gallery

To: National Gallery

Dear Visitor Engagement Department,

I received your email with much feverish excitement as I prepared myself for your answer about my artwork and Room 34. If I am honest I would have to admit that this is not the result I anticipated.


I now realise that I may have made a mistake in showing my work via the world wide web. The colours in The Little Wood are much more subtle and vibrant than they appear on my computer. I am no David Bailey. So I was wondering if you might like to see it in the flesh? I often visit St Thomas hospital for treatment and can drop in the picture. It’s already framed with a quality frame and can drop it in this Thursday at half past three. I can not do Friday as it is Good Friday and I go to church. Thursday 18th  could be good. But I think I will pop it in tomorrow as that is less bother for me.


Hope this sounds good,

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)

To: Swaleside Prison

Dear Mr Newton,

I could not help but notice Swaleside Prison on television when your inmates protested the other month. I just wanted to say that your prison guards were incredibly heroic dealing with the protest and I’m so glad that we have such wondrous public servants in our great country.


I wanted to approach you with an invitation. I whole-heartedly believe that art and acting can be transformative for people who have found themselves on the wrong side of the tracks. Finding an artistic outlet and a voice can be a miracle. So I was wondering if you might be interested in myself with some illustrious members of my local amateur dramatic society performing a play at your prison? If I may say so myself there’s some excellent roles in the play for some aspirant thespians. The cast and myself would like to do a performance at Swaleside.


My play is called The Pansy and it is a play which pleads for greater tolerance on he subject of homosexuality. We do have some scenes which feature drug taking but as I know this is forbidden in prison. I would naturally edit these out. Indeed some of more elderly cast members found these scenes repugnant so they have been erased from our memories. So this now makes our dramatic offerings suitable for the masses! Do you have a stage or a theatre? If you don’t we would be quite happy performing in the canteen.

Looking forward with eager anticipation to hearing your thoughts on this matter.

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)

To: Swaleside Prison

Dear Mr Newton,

I was anticipating a response with regards our offer to have our amateur dramatic society perform in Swaleside prison. The company are roused by the prospect of offering the production to your prison. We have been concocting some splendid costumes. If I may say so myself they are outstanding. Mrs Truscott who lives locally has spent weeks sewing sequins on the dance routine dresses. We are all very proud of her as she has managed to do this in between being in hospital. It’s going to be a superb production.


We have been practising hard and are keen to know if you can give us a date when we might be able to tread the boards? If you could give us a yes or no that would be ideal. We currently have a full cast and everyone has memorised their lines and musical numbers. We’ve put an inordinate amount of elbow grease into this show so if you could give us a yes or a no that would suffice.

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)

To: John Humphrys, BBC Radio 4

Dear Mr Humphrys,

I must remonstrate with your performance of a poem, which I would have difficulty in describing. I believe it was called ‘Choose Life’ from something called Trainspotting. To be quite frank I’d rather not choose it at all. Hearing expletives on Radio Four’s Today program not only upset me but mortified my family. You don’t expect to hear such filth on the radio. My son was traumatised for hours after the horrific outburst.


I also had the misfortune to hear your rap in another sorry edition of the Today programme. I feel it is time for you to act your age and not speak the language of the gutter. I trust that you will refrain from lambasting the audience’s poor fragile ears in future.

Yours faithfully,

Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)