Three Men in a Boat (To Say Nothing of the Dog)

In popular culture

The river trip is easy to recreate, following the detailed description, and this is sometimes done by fans of the book. Much of the route remains unchanged. For example, all the pubs and inns named are still open.[Note 4]


Audiobooks of the book have been released many times, with different narrators, including Sir Timothy Ackroyd (2013), Hugh Laurie (1999), Nigel Planer (1999), Martin Jarvis (2005) and Steven Crossley (2011).

The BBC has broadcast on radio a number of dramatisations of the story, including a musical version in 1962 starring Kenneth Horne, Leslie Phillips and Hubert Gregg, a three-episode version in 1984 with Jeremy Nicholas playing all of the characters and a two-part adaptation for Classic Serial in 2013 with Hugh Dennis, Steve Punt and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Film and television

  • Three Men in a Boat, a 1920 silent British film with Lionelle Howard as J., H. Manning Haynes as Harris and Johnny Butt as George.[13]
  • Three Men in a Boat a 1933 British film with William Austin, Edmund Breon, and Billy Milton.[14]
  • Three Men in a Boat, a 1956 British film with David Tomlinson as J., Jimmy Edwards as Harris and Laurence Harvey as George.[15]
  • Three Men in a Boat, a 1961 German film very loosely based on the book.[16]
  • Three Men in a Boat, a 1975 BBC-produced version for television adapted by Tom Stoppard and directed by Stephen Frears, with Tim Curry as J., Michael Palin as Harris, and Stephen Moore as George.[17]
  • Three Men in a Boat (Russian: Трое в лодке, не считая собаки), a 1979, musical comedy filmed by Soviet television, with Andrei Mironov as J., Aleksandr Shirvindt as Harris and Mikhail Derzhavin as George.[18]

Peter Lovesey's Victorian detective novel Swing, Swing Together (1976), partly based on the book, featured as the second episode of the television series Cribb (1980).

In 2005 the comedians Griff Rhys Jones, Dara Ó Briain, and Rory McGrath embarked on a recreation of the novel for what was to become a regular yearly BBC TV series, Three Men in a Boat. Their first expedition was along the Thames from Kingston upon Thames to Oxford, recreating the original novel. [19]


A stage adaptation earned Jeremy Nicholas a Best Newcomer in a Play nomination at the 1981 Laurence Olivier Awards. The book was adapted by Clive Francis for a 2006 production that toured the UK.[20]


A sculpture of a stylised boat was created in 1999 to commemorate Three Men in a Boat on the Millennium Green in New Southgate, London, where the author lived as a child. In 2012 a mosaic of a dog's head was put onto the same Green to commemorate Montmorency.

Other works of literature

In 1891, Three Women in One Boat: A River Sketch by Constance MacEwen was published.[21] This book relates the journey of three young university women who set out to emulate the river trip in Three Men in a Boat in an effort to raise the spirits of one of them, who is about to be expelled from university. To take the place of Montmorency, they bring a cat called Tintoretto.[22]

P. G. Wodehouse mentions the Plaster of Paris trout in his 1910 novel Psmith in the City. Psmith's boss, while delivering a political speech, pretends to have personally experienced a succession of men claiming to have caught a fake trout. Psmith interrupts the speech to "let him know that a man named Jerome had pinched his story."[23]

Three Men in a Boat is referenced in the 1956 parody novel on mountaineering, The Ascent of Rum Doodle, where the head porter Bing is said to spend "much of his leisure immersed in a Yogistani translation of it."[24]

In Have Space Suit—Will Travel, by Robert A. Heinlein (1958), the main character's father is an obsessive fan of the book, and spends much of his spare time repeatedly re-reading it.[25]

The book Three Men (Not) in a Boat: and Most of the Time Without a Dog (1983, republished 2011) by Timothy Finn is a loosely related novel about a walking trip.

A re-creation in 1993 by poet Kim Taplin and companions resulted in the travelogue Three Women in a Boat.[26]

Gita sul Tevere is an Italian humorous book inspired by this famous English novel.

Science fiction author Connie Willis paid tribute to Jerome's novel in her own 1997 Hugo Award–winning book To Say Nothing of the Dog. Her time-travelling protagonist also takes an ill-fated voyage on the Thames with two humans and a dog as companions, and encounters George, Harris, 'J' and Montmorency. The title of Willis' novel refers to the full title of the original book.[25]

Fantasy author Harry Turtledove has written a set of stories where Jerome's characters encounter supernatural creatures: "Three Men and a Vampire" and "Three Men and a Werewolf," announced to be published in Some Time Later: Fantastic Voyages in Alternate Worlds, by A. J. Sikes, B. J. Sikes, and Dover Whitecliff (2017).[27] A preview audio version of the first story was made available online.[28] Turtledove followed up with "Three Men and a Sasquatch".[29]

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