Letter from Helvetica is an eight part weekly podcast series which began yesterday (30th April 2023). It stars Andrew Mackintosh (who also wrote the series and composed the music) and Natalie Roles and is produced by Oliver Crocker.
Both Mackintosh and Roles will be familiar to viewers of The Bill (Mackintosh played DS Greig between 1989 and 1998 whilst Roles took the part of DS McAllister during 2000 and 2004).
Letter from Helvetica takes the form of an epistolary novel, in which the crusty John Stotter (Mackintosh) writes a regular series of rambling letters to his favourite (well, only) niece Abigail Wesley (Roles) and she responds in turn with equally chatty and sharply observed missives.
Stotter, a retired Lieutenant Colonel, lives a quiet life in the tiny (fictitious) Cornish village of Helvetica whilst Abigail, a talented botanist, has uprooted her husband and young family to the (equally fictitious) island of Burbango in the South Pacific for a year.
I’ve had the opportunity to listen to the first four episodes (You Say Goodbye and I Say Hello, A Long and Winding Road, Another Girl and Magical Mystery Tour) and I’ve enjoyed the ride so far. Mackintosh’s writing is dense, nicely observed and peopled with a diverse collection of characters. And thanks to the skill of both readers, over time it’s impossible not to get drawn in.
Each episode runs for about 22 minutes which is just about perfect – long enough but not too long that your interest begins to wander.
You can find out more information about the series here and the first episode is available now from wherever you get your podcasts from.