I have always been fascinated by the legend of the Covent Garden Ghost, aka William Terriss, Victorian actor murdered at the stage door on 16th December 1897. When I discovered that the killer, Richard Archer Prince was the only actor in the UK ever to have been convicted of murder, I thought that the story would make a great play. (Leslie Grantham excluded as the crime was committed in Germany).
The tale of the life and death of William Terriss is made of the stuff that was the popular theatre of the day, The Victorian Melodrama; it had it all, handsome hero who made women go weak at the knees, legions of loyal fans who packed out theatres to catch a glimpse of him. A lovely home in the fashionable Bedford Park, a wife and three children, a devoted mistress and co-star in life and onstage; a man with Hollywood looks before Hollywood existed. Then we have Richard Archer Prince, a deluded wannabee with little talent and a persecution complex, a man who leading up to the murder was literally starving, and eking out an existence in one room of a boarding house.
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