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Slices of 19th-century London life from the pen of Charles Dickens Here are ten gloriously comic stories from Sketches by Boz, Charles Dickens' earliest collection of short pieces in which he honed his literary genius. Each tale is dramatised with a full cast. ©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd Cast and credits Written by Charles Dickens Directed by Sally Avens Starring Nicholas Farrell as Boz The Tuggses at Ramsgate The nouveau riche Tugg family discover that money cannot buy you love. Cast: Christopher Hancock, Frances Jeater, Colleen Prendergast, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Sean Baker, Tracy-Ann Oberman First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 1 September 1998 The Bloomsbury Christening The arrival of a bouncing baby boy is wonderful news - but not for miserable misanthrope Nicodemus Dumps. Cast: Alison Reid, Geoffrey Whitehead, Robert Harper, Charlie Simpson, Elaine Pyke First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8 September 1998 The Great Winglebury Duel Alexander Trott finds it is possible to become betrothed in even the most trying circumstances. Cast: Peter Gunn, Julia Deakin, David Timson, Kim Wall and David Antrobus First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15 September 1998 The Private Theatricals of Mrs Joseph Porter A household becomes obsessed with amateur dramatics - with farcical results. Cast: Geoffrey Whitehead, Frances Jeater, David Antrobus, Jane Holm, Shirley Dixon, Charles Simpson First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 22 September 1998 Mr Watkins Tottle All Mr Tottle wants is to enter the blessed state of matrimony - but the course of true love never did run smooth. Cast: David Collings, John Hartley, Jenny Howe, Patience Tomlinson, Christopher Scott First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 29 September 1998 Love and Oysters Meeting an oyster seller sparks disruption for orderly John Dounce. Cast: David Calder, Samantha Spiro, Siriol Jenkins, Elizabeth Conboy, David Allister, loan Meredith First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 5 July 1999 The Steam Excursion A boat trip on the Thames proves the undoing of 'paragon of perfection' Percy Noakes. Cast: Marston Bloom, Shirley Dixon, Joanna Monro, Jeremy Swift, Becky Hindley, Ben Crowe, Stephen Critchlow First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 12 July 1999 Sentiment The Crumpton sisters are delighted when an MP's daughter arrives at their finishing school - until a romantic attachment comes to light. Cast: Patience Tomlinson, Jane Booker, Gerard Murphy, Tilly Gaunt, Harry Myers, Elizabeth Conboy, Michael Mueller First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19 July 1999 The Boarding House The respectability of Mrs Tibbs' residential establishment is threatened by a mysterious new lodger. Cast: Imelda Staunton, Annette Badland, Christopher Hancock, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Stephen Critchlow, Peter Gunn, Jason O'Mara First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 July 1999 Horatio Sparkins The snobbish Maldertons are thrilled when their unmarried daughter receives the attentions of the gentlemanly Mr Sparkins. But who exactly is he? Cast: David Haig, Tessa Worsley, Sarah-Jane Holm, Adrian Schiller, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Patrick Barlow First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 2 August 1999Show more
Often described as 'the father of realism', Henrik Ibsen was a pioneer of modernist drama. He influenced playwrights as diverse as George Bernard Shaw and Oscar Wilde, and is the most frequently performed dramatist in the world after Shakespeare. Included in this collection are adaptations of his tragicomic masterpiece The Wild Duck, his complex and compelling play Rosmersholm, the epic drama Brand and the tragedy John Gabriel Borkman. Ibsen's A Doll's House is relocated to 1879 India in Tanika Gupta's Audio Drama Award-winning dramatisation, while the provocative and scandalous Ghosts is adapted by Richard Eyre, with the cast of his Olivier Award-winning Almeida Theatre production. Also featured are vibrant dramatisations of Hedda Gabler, whose desperate heroine is trapped in a suffocating marriage; The Lady from the Sea, about a woman torn between security and passion; and An Enemy of the People, in which a whistleblower reveals an inconvenient truth and is vilified for it. The casts of these stunning dramas include David Threlfall, Nicholas Farrell, Helen Baxendale, Indira Varma, Lesley Manville and Harriet Walter. Track listing: The Wild Duck Rosmersholm Brand John Gabriel Borkman A Doll's House Ghosts Hedda Gabler The Lady from the Sea An Enemy of the PeopleShow more
Three full-cast BBC Radio productions of Shakespeare's most famous Roman plays Featuring all-star casts and introduced by Sir Richard Eyre, these three iconic productions of Shakespeare's dynamic Roman histories are full of political intrigue, passion and tragedy. Julius Caesar This updated version of Shakespeare's classic play is set in Italy in 1925. Julius Caesar, a new Roman dictator, has swept to power, and his way is clear to assume total control - unless a coup by Cassius and Brutus can alter the tide of history. Nicholas Farrell stars as Brutus and Gerard Murphy as Julius Caesar. Coriolanus When Rome's greatest hero, the warrior Coriolanus, divides the people and the patricians through his arrogance, he is driven into exile. Samuel West stars as Coriolanus, with Susannah York as Volumnia. Antony and Cleopatra Shakespeare's last great tragedy is an action epic set against the political backdrop of the Roman Empire and the centre of Egyptian culture, Alexandria. But at the heart of the play is the story of what happens when two people fall in love. Starring Frances Barber as Cleopatra and David Harewood as Mark Antony.Show more
A deliciously black satirical comedy about the dinner party from hell. The fastidious host, Paige, decides to throw a dinner party in honour of her husband Lars, who is celebrating the success of his pop psychology book, Beyond Belief. She carefully plans a surprise menu that will mark the occasion, and anxiously checks with the waiter she has employed to make sure that everything is perfectly prepared. Her lucky guests include a post-feminist vegetarian artist, a distinguished microbiologist, a TV journalist and an uninvited guest who ends up staying for dinner. But it soon becomes apparent that the meal may contain some rather nasty surprises... Moira Buffini's outrageous comedy Dinner started life in the National Theatre's Loft in 2002, and became her first West End smash. In this production, adapted by the writer for BBC Drama on 3, Harriet Walter returns to the role she created: Paige, the hostess and architect of an evening which her guests will never forget. Two other original leads, Nicholas Farrell and Penny Downie, and four new cast members join her in this viciously black chamber piece about appetite, which will make you think twice about ever accepting another invitation to dinner.Moira Buffini was nominated for an Olivier Award for Dinner in 2003, and won the Olivier in 2014 for her play Handbagged.CastPaige........................Harriet WalterLars........................Nicholas FarrellWynne........................Penny DownieHal........................Paul BazelySian........................Pippa Bennett-WarnerMike........................Peter McDonaldWaiter........................David HounslowProduced and directed by Jonquil PantingShow more
First published in 1766 and a perennial favourite since then, The Vicar of Wakefield is built around the naïve but loveable figure of Dr Primrose. He and his family live in rural bliss until disaster threatens to destroy their happiness: abduction, impoverishment and betrayal combine to lay them low, but a surprising figure brings hope when all seems lost.Show more
Wordsworth’s Prelude is the consummation of his achievement as the great founder of English romanticism. An autobiography in verse, it tells of his childhood in the Lake District, his student days in Cambridge, his passion for the French Revolution and his later disenchantment with it, and his personal journey to a belief in Nature as the great moral and spiritual force which shapes human life, but on which human society all too often turned its back. Subtitled ‘Growth of a Poet’s Mind’, The Prelude is both a key document in the history of English literature, and an inspiring work of imagination, as fresh and challenging today as when it was written two centuries ago.Show more
When Princess Diana died in Paris's Alma tunnel, she was thirty-seven years old. Had she lived, she would turn fifty on July 1, 2011. Who would the beloved icon be if she were alive today? What would she be doing? And where? One of the most versatile and bold writers of our time, Monica Ali has imagined a different fate for Diana in her spectacular new novel, Untold Story. Diana's life and marriage were both fairy tale and nightmare rolled into one. Adored by millions, she suffered rejection, heartbreak, and betrayal. Surrounded by glamour and glitz and the constant attention of the press, she fought to carve a meaningful role for herself in helping the needy and dispossessed. The contradictions and pressures of her situation fueled her increasingly reckless behavior, but her stature and her connection with her public never ceased to grow. If Diana had lived, would she ever have found peace and happiness, or would the curse of fame always have been too great? Fast forward a decade after the (averted) Paris tragedy, and an Englishwoman named Lydia is living in a small, nondescript town somewhere in the American Midwest. She has a circle of friends: one owns a dress shop; one is a Realtor; another is a frenzied stay-at-home mom. Lydia volunteers at an animal shelter, and swims a lot. Her lover, who adores her, feels she won't let him know her. Who is she? Untold Story is about the cost of celebrity, the meaning of identity, and the possibility'or impossibility'of reinventing a life. Ali's fictional princess is beautiful, intrepid, and resourceful and has established a fragile peace. And then the past threatens to destroy her new life. Ali has created a riveting novel inspired by the cultural icon she calls "a gorgeous bundle of trouble."Show more
What if Princess Diana hadn't died? Diana's life and marriage were fairy tale and nightmare. Adored by millions, in her personal life she suffered heartbreak and betrayal. Within a life of privilege, she frequently felt trapped and alone. Constrained by protocol and precedent, she refused to follow the rules. Untold Story takes the life of the world's most famous woman as a point of departure, examining the past and imagining a future. The fictional princess who is the novel's heroine is at breaking point and, believing that the Establishment is plotting her assassination, she makes an irrevocable decision: to stage her own death and begin a new life under an assumed identity. After a period of intense upheaval, Lydia (as she is known) settles in small town America and establishes a fragile peace. It is threatened by thoughts of what she has lost: not the glamour and glitz of royalty but that which is most precious - her children. She is, at least, safe in the knowledge - having altered her appearance and ten years after her 'death' - that her secret will never be uncovered. But then a chance encounter with a member of the paparazzi robs her of that certainty. Will he recognize her? Should she flee or remain calm? Is there anyone she can trust and turn to, or will she inevitably be betrayed? Untold Story is a novel about family and friendship, intrigue and obsession, the meaning of identity, and the peculiar calamity of fame.Show more
Gerard Murphy, Stella Gonet and Nicholas Farrell star in Shakespeare's turbulent Roman history. BBC Radio has a unique heritage when it comes to Shakespeare. Since 1923, when the newly formed company broadcast its first full-length play, generations of actors and producers have honed and perfected the craft of making Shakespeare to be heard. In the acclaimed BBC Radio Shakespeare series, each play is introduced by Richard Eyre, former Director of the Royal National Theatre. Revitalised, original and comprehensive, this is Shakespeare for the new millennium.Show more
Though he was Greek, Plutarch wrote his Lives in the first century, a world dominated by the Roman Empire. Plutarch's series of biographies was the first of its kind, as much groundbreaking in conception as the Histories of Herodotus. Plutarch looked at the great men in the Ancient World and told their stories, in many cases drawing on sources which are no longer available to us. They offer a unique insight into the characters as well as the achievements of men who influenced their age and the empires that their culture dominated. Here he considers some of the major figures that had left their stamp on the history of Rome, including generals, rulers, philosophers and politicians. It is the companion volume to Greek Lives, also read with style by Nicholas Farrell on Naxos AudioBooks.Show more
Written at the beginning of the second century, Plutarch's collection of accounts of the lives of noble Grecians is a brilliant social history of the ancient world by one of the greatest biographers and moralists of all time. Still inspiration after 19 centuries, Plutarch's "Livesoffers a unique insight into the characters as well as the achievements of men who influenced their age and the empires that their culture dominated. As accessible now as when first written, Naxos AudioBooks' premiere recording of these selections from Plutarch's "Liveswill be a welcomed addition to our catalog of classic texts.Show more
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