By Jeeves! We’re on the Wireless!

Following the ‘livestream’ of Alan Ayckbourn and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical By Jeeves over the weekend, we’ve had enquiries as to where you can obtain the musical.

By Jeeves has actually had quite a number of recordings over time – some still available, some not – and here we’ve got a brief guide to how you can watch and listen to By Jeeves.

The filmed adaptation from 2001, which was streamed, is – sadly – not available to buy digitally but can still be rooted out on Region 2 DVD and (if you have a video recorder!) on VHS. This is the complete musical with the cast which would go on to Broadway with By Jeeves featuring Martin Jarvis as Jeeves and John Scherer as Berties, directed by Alan Ayckbourn. It’s available from Amazon here. It was originally an exclusive with a Lloyd Webber DVD box set but was then released individually.

By Jeeves on DVD
(© Universal)

For those who enjoyed the music and want to know what it sounded like in the West End with the original company, you can stream the original cast recording of By Jeeves from Amazon and iTunes. This features Malcom Sinclair as Jeeves and Steven Pacey as Bertie. You can also still buy the CD for this and it remains the definitive recording of the musical in my own opinion.

By Jeeves West End cast recording
(© Really Useful Company)

Not so easy to obtain – and one for the afficiandoes – is the original cast recording of the world premiere production at Scarborough (although the same company went on to the West End). When the show opened at the Stephen Joseph Theatre, Andrew Lloyd Webber arranged for a mobile recording studio to be set up outside (then practically unique in the UK) and a live recording of an early performance was made and printed on to a limited edition CD to go on sale during the Scarborough run of the musical! This is notable as it contains two songs which were replaced during the original run and are found nowhere else – Deadlier Than The Male and The Code Of The Woosters – replaced by Love’s Maze and Wooster Will Entertain You on the West End cast recording. This has an identifiably different cover to the West End CD if you’re searching for it.

By Jeeves – the original live Scarborough cast recroding
(© Really Useful Company)

If you enjoyed the livestream of By Jeeves, you can also get the original cast recording of the Broadway production with Martin Jarvis as Jeeves and John Scherer as Bertie to stream via Amazon and iTunes; this can also be found on CD with a bit of a search.

By Jeeves Broadway cast recording
(© Universal)

Sadly not available, but which may one day be repeated by the BBC, is the radio adaptation of By Jeeves on BBC Radio 2 featuring the original West End company and broadcast on 14 December 1996 with new bridging material written by Alan Ayckbourn. This one’s a lot of fun and topped an incredibly successful year for By Jeeves.

For completist’s sake – and for those nostalgic for the original West End flop from 1975 – the original Jeeves was released on vinyl during 1975 in very limited quantities. It contains highlights of the musical arranged by Andrew Lloyd Webber with notes by Alan Ayckbourn; who reckons it is worth more now than he made in total royalties from the original production! This – like the Scarborough cast recording of By Jeeves – is considered an Ayckbourn / Lloyd Webber rarity and only likely to be found in specialist record stores.

Jeeves original 1975 cast recording on vinyl
(© Really Useful Company)

You can also learn more about By Jeeves – and its predecessor Jeeves – with numerous articles at the Jeeves / By Jeeves section of Alan Ayckbourn’s Official Website. It even has the lyrics of songs which were cut from By Jeeves or altered over time. Plenty to keep you humming or reading during the lockdown!

By Jove! What a lot of fun things to do, Jeeves.

Research and article by Simon Murgatroyd and copyright of Haydonning Ltd. P{lease do not reproduce without permission of the copyright holder.

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