Hooray for Henry!

Fri 17 Aug

Playwright, novelist and organiser of thief-takers, Henry Fielding had many strings to his bow. Appearing in The Art of Success, the first play in our double bill Hogarth's Progress, we take a look at the extraordinary man. 

Jack Derges


You may recognise Jack from his appearance alongside the Mitchell sisters in Eastenders as mysterious yet lovable ex-solider Andy Flynn. He also appeared in Channel 4's acclaimed series Humans as synth Simon. 

He's no stranger to the stage starring in The Boys in the band alongside Markk gatiss and our very own Ian hallard who will star as Horace Walpole in Hogarth's Progress

Find out more about Jack Derges's character Henry Fielding below. 



  • A popular political satirist, Fielding wrote many dramas ridiculing politicians of the time such as Prime Minister Robert Walpole. Walpole wasn't a huge fan of his and this contributed to the creation of the Licensing Act of 1737 which restricted and censored how the British government could be portrayed through the form of theatre. Spoil sport. Fielding had to find a new way to satirise government.
  • He explored different mediums, contributing to journals and writing printed plays. Fun fact - Hogarth designed the front cover to The Tragedy of Tragedies which went straight to print. Hogarth liked to help out his friends that way. 
  • Eventually, Fielding's work developed and gradually he wrote serious novels rather than political satire. His picaresque novel Tom Jones was his greatest work telling the tale of a poverty stricken foundling coming into fortune. Fielding contributed to the rise of the novel and a literary genre in middle England. 
  • He was not only a dramatist and novelist but he had a long career in law becoming a barrister and later a magistrate. 
  • Fielding, with his younger brother, formed what many consider to be the first police force of London named the Bow Street Runners in 1748. Before this time there was no organised police force in London as it was deemed 'too French'. Instead it was deemed the victim's responsibility to apprehend the criminal and take them to the authorities themselves! They could hire a 'thief-taker' however, who could find and apprehend the offender and bring them to justice for a fee. However, thief-takers had little regulation and were often corrupt, taking bribes from the offended to let them free. Some thief-takers would even become involved in setting up crimes only to betray their criminal crew to claim the rewards. Fielding's Bow Street Runners were honest and trustworthy, starting a record-keeping system for criminals and crimes which was then circulated in The Hue and the Cry newspaper. Thank goodness for Henry Fielding!


Quotes by Henry Fielding

'Love and scandal are the best sweetners of tea'

'Guilt has very quick ears to an accusation'

'The prudence of the best heads is often defeated by the tenderness of the best hearts'


Jack Derges will also appear as Parson Venables in the second play, The Taste of the Town

Both plays together create double bill Hogarth's Progress which runs at the Rose Thu 13 Sep - Sun 21 Oct. Each play can be seen as a single performance or enjoyed together, either over different days or as a thrilling all-day theatrical experience. To find out more click here.

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