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Heyer Today

Heyer Today: a podcast about Georgette Heyer 

Last year, we won bronze for our season 1: The Sugar Baby Confessionals. This year, we’ve given ourselves a massive challenge: we’ve created a series twice as long, with over 39 participants, original music, a cinematic investigation and a book club rolled into one.

And guess what? Episode 1, featuring Stephen Fry, is already out now!

From February 2020, we’ll be releasing half our epic season on a weekly basis. What’s it like? Try a mash up of You Must Remember This, Unspooled and the Guardian Books Podcast. It’s hilarious, poignant, insightful, historically fascinating, smart and full of fabulous guests (who? Glad you asked… only Stephen Fry, Joanne Harris, Harriet Evans, Mary Jo Putney…to name but three).

What’s it about?

“I think myself I ought to be shot for writing such nonsense.”

As a bestselling author, Georgette Heyer hasn’t been out of print since 1921 – so why hasn’t Hollywood snapped up her plots for a big screen franchise?

  • Jane Austen – 6 best-selling Regency romances; 6 major screen adaptations.
  • Georgette Heyer – 34 best-selling Regency romances; 0 major screen adaptations.

One major film producer has been trying to get the first big screen adaptation of Heyer’s ‘The Grand Sophy’ made for years, but what’s been standing in the way? We’ll investigate the difficulties facing film makers when it comes to period work.

Plus, find out what the uber-Heyerites think of Sophy’s choice. We chat to Peter Buckman (agent for Heyer’s estate) about his struggles with trying to get a Heyer film made, and we  chart his journey towards adapting one of her books himself.

Join our Regency romance book club!

Every alternate week, we’ll attempt to convert people who’ve never heard of Heyer, including comedians Emma Moran, Glen Tickle, Dom Patmore, Rhiannon Shaw and Kate Hinksman.

Discover what Hollywood producers, Australian biographers, British national treasures and worldwide readers think about Heyer’s popularity. And join super-fans and newbies as they discover and discuss some of the top-selling novels of our time – in Heyer Today.

Highlights include:

  • Actor Stephen Fry on how he came to be hooked on Heyer
  • Author Joanne Harris on why adapting books into film can be problematic
  • Producer Andy Paterson discusses a mystery project and the difficulties of bringing Heyer’s work to the screen
  • Best-selling historical romance novelist, Mary Jo Putney, on writing Regency romance through a 21st century lens
  • Peter Buckman on his joy in adapting Heyer’s work
  • Romance novelist Harriet Evans lists her all-time favourite Heyers and why
  • Susannah Fullerton, head of the Jane Austen Society in Australia, compares Austen and Heyer
  • Acclaimed biographer Jennifer Kloester shares some anecdotes about her journey in discovering never-before-seen letters from Heyer and doing Heyer justice
  • Blogger Eleanor Turner (Jane to Georgette) discusses Heyer related on-dits and crim cons
  • Comedians who’ve never read Heyer, fall in love (or not!) with her work
  • Author Jane Holland and literary agent Alison Bonami from LBA on Heyer’s greatest romantic heroes
  • Audio drama inspired by Heyer’s life
  • Music from the incomparable Emma Gatrill and Message to Bears, plus original music composed especially for the podcast


Jan 18, 2022

“The thing that had to change most fundamentally [in The Grand Sophy] is that Sophy is simply untroubled…she always has the upper hand, she always has the answer and she’s always outwitting everybody. For the film…if a character is completely unassailable, it becomes frustrating. You have to find the kryptonite, you have to find what would make her vulnerable, and what would make her unsure of herself. If she’s being so bold and outrageous, what are the consequences?’ – Olivia Hetreed on adapting The Grand Sophy into a film

Welcome to our final episode in this season of Heyer Today, the podcast all about historical novelist, Georgette Heyer.

Sara-Mae has now been working on this programme for years, over which time, the world has been reshaped by a pandemic, she’s had a child and met a huge community of Heyer admirers and fans. It’s been a tremendously rewarding process in which she’s gotten to reread the books she’s loved almost all her life and see them with fresh eyes, alongside our Heyer newbies. Since she began this project, looking for Heyer content that was thin on the ground, new podcasts have sprung up, academic essays and conferences exploring the world Heyer created, as well as TV shows adapting the work of similar authors. All of which has made us hopeful that at long last, Heyer will get the recognition she deserves from critics and movie makers.


In this final episode, we’ll visit Heyer on her deathbed, with her best friend and husband Ronald at her side, as the magnificent Sarah Golding and Karim Kronfli give voice to her final moments in a tremendously touching scene. *Trigger warning, this scene may be difficult to listen to if you’ve lost someone from lung-related ailments.

On top of that, we chat to screenwriter Olivia Hetreed, coming full circle on our journey to discover what happened to her and her husband, producer Andy Paterson’s film version of The Grand Sophy. We’ll also speak to Peter Buckman again, as he tells us all about his adaptation of TGS, born out of frustration in the film world.

Plus, Jennifer Kloester, Heyer’s biographer, will discuss the controversial side of Heyer’s oeuvre, exploring accusations of anti-Semitism which have led some to call for her to be ‘cancelled’.

Finally, we have an Aussie book club who’ve never read her work giving us their verdict on The Grand Sophy.


This episode was edited, researched, produced and hosted by Sara-Mae Tuson. Beth Keehn worked with Sara-Mae on production, writing and research. Mike Scott also helped with production, as well as a little acting here and there. Rowan Scott for being an adorable addition to the Fable Gazers family. Thanks to Cat Warren and Will Dell for their help across the series with production.

Michael Mandalis edited and recorded Beth’s bits throughout the season and he did a marvellous job. Thanks also to Geraldine Elliot, Talitha Gamaroff and everyone who supported us in creating this work.

We could never have made this without the help of all the guests we've had on this season's episodes. You’re all totally fabulous, even if you didn’t become converts.

Heyer’s deathbed scene was enacted by the magnificent Sarah Golding as Heyer, and Karim Kronfli doing his usual fabulous job as Ronald. We’d like to thank our wonderful cast across the series: Helen Davidge as young Heyer, Beth Crane and Hedley Knights playing multiple roles, including Heyer’s son, Richard (please check out their brilliant pod We Fix Space Junk, amongst many others), Fiona Thraille (playing Pat Wallace and others), Thomas and Holly Golding as young Boris and young Richard, John Grayson as Frere, Karen Heimdahl, my mother, Cathy Tuson as Sylvia and Mike Scott, again. You all helped to bring Heyer’s world to life, and we're profoundly grateful to all of you.

Look out for bonus episodes later in the year, we have plans to work with the International Heyer Society and Jen Kloester on some special short episodes.

The music used in this episode is from Emma Gattril’s luminous album, Chapter I, as well as Jerome Alexander’s cinematic Message to Bears work. Original music was composed especially for the podcast, by Sara-Mae and Tom Chadd, and their work will shortly be available on Spotify and Bandcamp or on request for people who donate to our Paypal.

Comment and take part in our discussions on social media, we’re @fablegazers on Instagram and @fable_gazers on Twitter.

Special thanks to Peter Buckman for all his kind assistance, and for letting us use selections from his adaptation of The Grand Sophy, do go and find out more about it at

Remember to rate and review the pod … it helps small indie companies like us to thrive. If you’d like to help us with future projects, you can go to our 'Support us' page and donate money to keep us in tea and biscuits.

Heyer Today has been a Fable Gazers production.


Show notes:

The Grand Sophy extracts were produced by Jane Markham of Podcats, who cast six young actors, all members of the Oxford University Dramatic Society. You can listen to the podcast on most podcast platforms, including Apple, Spotify, TuneIn, ITunes, and Google Podcasts.


Sarah Golding  

Karim Kronfli

You can find Message to Bears here.

Tom Chadd’s music here.

Emma Gatrill’s website is here.