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BBC radio productions of classic works by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edith Wharton – plus two bonus documentaries American author Edith Wharton is renowned for her merciless satires of marriage and money, set in the upper-class milieu into which she was born. Included here are a superb selection of her novels, short stories and plays, recorded for BBC Radio – as well as two programmes exploring her life and work. The House of Mirth – Bewitching socialite Lily Bart is hunting for a wealthy husband – but time is running out… Starring June Barrie, Carole Mowlam and Keith Alexander. Madame de Treymes – John Durham's fight for the woman he loves sparks a confrontation with a powerful and devious French family. Starring Anna Massey and Philip Voss. The Reef – Jodhi May, Sian Thomas and Ben Miles star in Edith Wharton’s neglected classic following the complicated love lives of four Americans in France. The Age of Innocence – Recently engaged Newland Archer is drawn to his fiancee's cousin, the exotic, independent Countess Ellen Olenska. Starring Eleanor Bron, Ryan McCluskey and Susan Lynch. The Custom of the Country– Beautiful Undine Spragg arrives in New York, setting her sights on Ralph Marvell. But will he live up to her expectations? Starring Rebecca Night, Dan Stevens and Tom Hollander. Ethan Frome – Trapped in an unhappy marriage, Ethan Frome becomes obsessed with his wife's cousin. Dominic Mafham, Jessica Raine and Laurel Lefkow star in this tragic love story set in rural Massachusetts. The Shadow of a Doubt – Former nurse Kate Derwent carries a terrible secret. Phoebe Fox, Francesca Annis and Paul Ready star in this newly-discovered play from 1901. Great Lives: Edith Wharton – Naomi Wolf joins presenter Matthew Paris to talk about Wharton and her work. In Our Time: Edith Wharton – Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss Wharton’s novels of America’s Gilded Age. First published 1901 (The Shadow of a Doubt), 1903 (‘The Dilettante’), 1905 (The House of Mirth), 1907 (Madame de Treymes), 1910 (‘Afterward’), 1911 (Ethan Frome), 1912 (The Reef), 1913 (The Custom of the Country), 1920 (The Age of Innocence) Cast and credits Written by Edith Wharton The House of Mirth Narrator – June Barrie Lily Bart – Carole Mowlam Lawrence Selden – Keith Alexander Simon Rosedale – Alexander John Mrs Bertha Dorset – Anne-Marie Davies Judy Trenor – Roberta Hamond Mr Hudson Bart/Van Allstyne– Barry Dennen Mrs Hudson Bart – Jennie Lee Poleworth – Haydn Andrews Percy Gryce – Arril Johnson George Dorset – Paul Maxwell Jack Stepney – Stuart Milligan Carry Fisher – Zhivila Roche Gwen Van Osburgh – Jean Baird Gus Trenor – John Church Gerty Farish – Celia Bannerman Mrs Van Osburgh – Tucker McGuire Mrs Haffen – Thomasine Heiner Mrs Peniston – Margot Lawrence Grace Stepney – Kate Lock Mrs Wellington Bry – Pat Field Ned Silverton/Mr Wellington Bry – Graham Faulkner Lord Hubert – Anthony Hyde Duchess – Pauline Letts Mattie Gormer – Jayne Lloyd Miss Kilroy/Nettie – Judith Morse Miss Haines/Kathleen – Janene Possell Dramatised by Eileen Cullen Directed by Brian Miller First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21 March-18 April 1981 Madame de Treymes Narrator – Valerie Sarruf Christiane de Treymes – Anna Massey John Durham – Philip Voss Fanny de Malrive – Gwen Humble Mrs Humble – Auriol Smith Nanny – Jane Whittenshaw Katey – Tara Dominick Bessie Boykin – Elizabeth Kelly Elmer Boykin – James Greene Dramatised by John Peacock Directed by Jane Morgan First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 7 September 1990 The Reef Narrator – Sian Thomas George Darrow – Ben Miles Anna – Teresa Gallagher Sophie – Jodhi May Owen – Julian Ovenden Adelaide/Laura – Debora Weston Dramatised by Penny Leicester Produced by Di Speirs First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 27 June-8 July 2005 The Age of Innocence Newland – Ryan McCluskey Ellen– Susan Lynch May – Kellie Bright Catherine – Eleanor Bron Augusta – Lorelei King Adeline – Barbara Barnes Jane– Sarah Goldberg Sillerton – Kerry Shale Julius – Conrad Nelson Lawrence – Martin T Sherman Medora – Margaret Robertson Ned – John Guerrasio Dramatised by Jane Rogers Produced by Nadia Molinari First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 6-13 January 2008 The Custom of the Country Undine Spragg – Rebecca Night Mrs Spragg – Barbara Barnes Mrs Heeny – Lorelei King Abner Spragg/Popple – Jonathan Keeble Peter Van Degen – William Houston Mr Dagonet – Paul McCleary Laura Fairford/Princess Estradina – Provence Maydew Elmer Moffatt – Tom Hollander Ralph Marvell – Dan Stevens Mabel Lipscombe – Tessa Nicholson Clare Van Degen – Lucy Gaskell Raymond de Chelles – Joseph Kloska Marquise de Chelles – Olwen May Paul – Daniel Rogers Dramatised by Jane Rogers Produced by Nadia Molinari First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 3-17 January 2010 Ethan Frome Ethan Frome – Dominic Mafham Mattie – Jessica Raine Zeena – Laurel Lefkow Denis Eady –Christopher Webster Post Mistress – Adjoa Andoh Andrew Hale – Paul Moriarty Edith Wharton – Fenella Woolgar Jotham Powell – Adam Billington Denis Eady – Christopher Webster Widow Homan – Victoria Inez Hardy Mrs Hale – Tracy Wiles Dramatised by Lin Coghlan Produced by Sally Avens First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 16-20 January 2012 The Shadow of a Doubt Kate Derwent – Phoebe Fox John Derwent – Paul Ready Sylvia Derwent – Rosie Boore Lord Osterleigh – David Horovitch Lady Uske – Francesca Annis Dr Carruthers – Don Gilet Clodagh Nevil – Alexandra Constantinidi Bobby Mazaret – Cameron Percival Footman – Lewis Bray Mrs Fullerton – Emma Handy Introduced by Laura Rattray, Reader in American Studies, University of Glasgow Dramatised by Melissa Murray Directed by Emma Harding First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 28 October 2018 Great Lives: Edith Wharton Presented by Matthew Paris With Naomi Wolf, Janet Beer and Avril Horner Produced by Jolyon Jenkins First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 25 September 2012 In Our Time: Edith Wharton Presented by Melvyn Bragg With Dame Hermione Lee, Bridget Bennett and Laura Rattray Produced by Simon Tillotson First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4 October 2018Show more
Six BBC radio dramas following the political swings of the Republican Party, through the personal stories of its Presidents Focussing on three of the best-known Republican Presidents of the 20th Century, Jonathan Myerson's riveting drama series looks at how their triumphs and disasters drove the party's electoral fortunes.Closely based on accounts by those who were there, this political trilogy reimagines the pivotal moments that changed history, and the part played by these famous and controversial leaders. Ronald Reagan: Death Valley Days 1965. Barry Goldwater's presidential campaign against LBJ has crashed and burned, and the Republicans need a fresh, new face -someone with TV appeal. Inspired by his down-home style and easygoing charm, they turn to fading movie star and Western hero Ronnie Reagan, and ask him to play a different kind of role. Richard Nixon: Searchlight Has Left the Building 1970. President Nixon has invaded Cambodia, sparking student protests across the US. At Kent State University, the National Guardsmen have shot four dead, and Washington is on high alert. But when the insomniac President wakes at 4am to see rebellious students assembling at the Lincoln Memorial, he goes out to meet them, taking his White House valet with him. As the Secret Service struggles to catch up, the night takes a bizarre turn... Gerald Ford: Fascist Insect 1975. Nixon has resigned, and new President Gerald Ford is fighting for his political survival. The country is in chaos, his party is disintegrating, and challenger Ronald Reagan is attacking with weekly radio broadcasts and the catchy slogan 'Make America Great Again'. Saigon has fallen, the Panama Canal is under threat and political fervour is everywhere - even celebrity rich-girl kidnap victim Patty Hearst seems to have turned terrorist. Then ex-FBI informant Sara Jane Moore decides to trigger the revolution. She buys a gun - and aims it at the President... Ronald Reagan: Hanging by Our Thumbs 1987. Hold on tight for a knockabout journey through the crazy stories of the notorious Iran-Contra affair. Ronald Reagan's landslide second term is on the ropes. Congress is investigating evidence that the US has illegally been selling arms to Iran, and secretly diverting the proceeds to fund Contra guerrilla fighters in Nicaragua - all with the President's knowledge. But when NATO Ambassador David Abshire is recalled to try to get the facts straight, he discovers it all depends on what you believe..... George W Bush: A Higher Father 2000. As George W Bush scrapes into the White House, his surprise journey to the Presidency doesn't just follow in his father's footsteps. According to US Marine Gunnery Sergeant Louella Harkrader - a storyteller with her own peculiar angle - Dubya's political steps have been guided all along by a Higher Father, now exerting His influence on US politics. Donald Trump: This Isn't Happening 2016. At a campaign rally, Donald Trump declares: "I could stand in the middle of Fifth Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn't lose voters." But when President Trump loses his temper on his Scottish golf course one day, things work out very differently.... Among the casts of these entertaining radio plays are Kerry Shale, Madeleine Potter, Jonathan Hyde, Sian Thomas and Nathan Osgood.Show more
Brought to you by Penguin. 'Wonderful and timely ... Hugely recommended' STEPHEN FRY What do you and an ancient philosopher have in common? It turns out much more than you might think... Aristotle was an extraordinary thinker, perhaps the greatest in history. Yet he was preoccupied by an ordinary question: how to be happy. His deepest belief was that we can all be happy in a meaningful, sustained way - and he led by example. In this handbook to his timeless teachings, Professor Edith Hall shows how ancient thinking is precisely what we need today, even if you don't know your Odyssey from your Iliad. In ten practical lessons we come to understand more about our own characters and how to make good decisions. We learn how to do well in an interview, how to choose a partner and life-long friends, and how to face death or bereavement. Life deals the same challenges - in Ancient Greece or the modern world. Aristotle's way is not to apply rules - it's about engaging with the texture of existence, and striding purposefully towards a life well lived. This is advice that won't go out of fashion. © Edith Hall 2018 (P) Penguin Audio 2020Show more
Dramatisations and readings of EM Forster's finest works, plus Stephen Wakelam's radio play A Dose of Fame and the documentary feature Forster in India: Sex, Books and Empire One of the greatest English novelists of the 20th century, EM Forster was also an accomplished short story writer. This collection includes stunning adaptations of his classic novels A Passage to India, Where Angels Fear to Tread, A Room with a View and Howards End. Among the star casts are Penelope Wilton, Ellie Kendrick, Sian Thomas, Emilia Fox, Sheila Hancock and John Hurt. Also featured are four of his short tales - 'The Story of the Siren' (read by Dan Stevens), 'The Road from Colonus' (read by Andrew Sachs), 'The Obelisk' (read by Ruth Wilson) and 'Ansell' (read by Peter Kenny). Forster's posthumous novel, Maurice, is dramatised with a full cast and stars Alex Wyndham and Bertie Carvel, while Stephen Wakelam's drama A Dose of Fame, starring Stephen Campbell Moore as Forster, sees the author grappling with a mysterious death, his own sexuality and an idea for his next novel. In addition, Zareer Masani presents a revealing Radio 3 profile exploring Forster's literature, love life and personal passage to India.Show more
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Then She Vanishes written by Claire Douglas, read by Sian Thomas, Katie O'Flynn, Nathalie Buscombe and Olivia Dowd. That summer, the three girls had the world at their feet. Now, one is missing. On a summer's night in 1994, sixteen-year-old Flora Powell vanished from her sleepy seaside town. She left no trace - only heartache for her mother and her sister, Heather. And one is a murderer. Twenty-five years later, Heather walks into a stranger's house. There, the loving wife and doting new mother kills two people in cold blood. So only one remains . . . Jess is sent to report on the case that shocked the hometown she left behind. But it's anything but business to her. She was like a sister to the Powell girls, until the summer that tore them all apart. Can Jess find the key to both their mysteries? Or will her search reveal a darker side to the place she grew up - and put her in danger? 'Few people do psychological thrillers as claustrophobic and as creepy as Claire Douglas' Tim Weaver, bestselling author of No One HomeShow more
Random House presents the audiobook edition of The Rumour by Lesley Kara, read by Clare Corbett, Sian Thomas and Roy McMillan. A casual comment. There's a killer among us. That's all it takes. She stabbed little Robbie Harris. To change a life - She's living under a new name. For ever. She's reformed. So they say . . . Joanna is going to regret the day she ever said a word. 'In this chilling tale of paranoia, suspicion and accusation, Lesley Kara keeps you guessing until the final page.' Paula Hawkins, No.1 bestselling author of The Girl on the Train and Into the Water 'A great debut with a slyly clever premise and a rollercoaster ride to the very last sentence.' Fiona Barton, bestselling author of The Widow and The Child 'An intriguing premise, a creeping sense of dread, and a twist you won't see coming! Everyone is going to be talking about The Rumour.' Shari Lapena, bestselling author of The Couple Next Door and A Stranger in the HouseShow more
In an enthralling new feat of historical suspense, Ariel Lawhon unravels the extraordinary twists and turns in Anna Anderson's 50-year battle to be recognized as Anastasia Romanov. Is she the Russian Grand Duchess, a beloved daughter and revered icon, or is she an imposter, the thief of another woman's legacy? Countless others have rendered their verdict. Now it is your turn. Russia, July 17, 1918: Under direct orders from Vladimir Lenin, Bolshevik secret police force Anastasia Romanov, along with the entire imperial family, into a damp basement in Siberia where they face a merciless firing squad. None survive. At least that is what the executioners have always claimed. Germany, February 17, 1920: A young woman bearing an uncanny resemblance to Anastasia Romanov is pulled shivering and senseless from a canal in Berlin. Refusing to explain her presence in the freezing water, she is taken to the hospital where an examination reveals that her body is riddled with countless, horrific scars. When she finally does speak, this frightened, mysterious woman claims to be the Russian Grand Duchess Anastasia. Her detractors, convinced that the young woman is only after the immense Romanov fortune, insist on calling her by a different name: Anna Anderson. As rumors begin to circulate through European society that the youngest Romanov daughter has survived the massacre, old enemies and new threats are awakened. With a brilliantly crafted dual narrative structure, Lawhon wades into the most psychologically complex and emotionally compelling territory yet: the nature of identity itself. The question of who Anna Anderson is and what actually happened to Anastasia Romanov creates a saga that spans fifty years and touches three continents. This thrilling story is every bit as moving and momentous as it is harrowing and twisted.Show more
Penguin presents the audiobook edition of Everything is Lies by Helen Callaghan, read by Anna Popplewell and Sian Thomas. No-one is who you think they are Sophia's parents lead quiet, unremarkable lives. At least that is what she's always believed. Everyone has secrets Until the day she arrives at her childhood home to find a house ringing with silence. Her mother is hanging from a tree. Her father is lying in a pool of his own blood, near to death. Especially those closest to you The police are convinced it is an attempted murder-suicide. But Sophia is sure that the woman who brought her up isn't a killer. As her father is too ill to talk it is up to Sophia to clear her mother's name. And to do this she needs to delve deep into her family's past - a past full of dark secrets she never suspected were there . . . What if your parents had been lying to you since the day you were born? 'Riveting' Sunday TimesShow more
The Burning is the sixth thrilling installment in Matthew Hall's twice CWA Gold Dagger nominated Coroner Jenny Cooper series, from the creator of BBC One's Keeping Faith. A family tragedy. A buried secret. What lies hidden in the flames? A dense, bitterly cold fog has settled over the Wye Valley when Bristol Coroner Jenny Cooper is called to the scene of a dreadful tragedy: in the village of Blackstone Ley, a house has burned to the ground with three members of a family inside. Though evidence of foul play is quickly uncovered, it isn't long before the police investigation is drawn to a close. It seems certain that the fire was started by one of the victims, Ed Morgan, in a fit of jealous rage. But their infant son is still missing and Ed had left a message for his surviving wife, Kelly Hart, telling her that she would never find the child . . . As Jenny prepares the inquest, she finds herself troubled by the official version of events. What could have provoked Ed's murderous rampage? How might the other, guarded inhabitants of the village have been involved? And what could the connection be with the mysterious abduction of a little girl ten years ago? Battling to supress gruelling events in her own life, Jenny soon becomes entangled in another perplexing inquiry that may have surprising links to this one. Can she unearth Blackstone Ley's secrets, before it's too late?Show more
From the bestselling author of the Coroner Jenny Cooper series comes A Life to Kill, Matthew Hall's most gripping, moving and timely thriller to date. If they're hiding something, we've got a right to know. We've got a right to know what Kenny died for . . . The day they've all been waiting for is at hand. The last British combat soldiers in Helmand are counting the minutes until their departure for home. For their excited families in Highcliffe, it spells the end of an agonizing six month wait. But in the final hours, disaster strikes. Nineteen-year-old Private Pete 'Skippy' Lyons is abducted and the patrol sent out to locate him is ambushed. One killed, two injured. One still missing in action . . . Their loved ones are left desperate for answers the Army won't provide. How could Private Lyons have been snatched from a heavily fortified command post? And why are officers trying to disguise what happened during the mission to save him? Their only hope lies with Coroner Jenny Cooper, who must take on the full might of the military to stop the truth being buried along with the boy soldiers. But in a town filled with secrets and rumours, it's not only the Army that has something to hide. A Life to Kill is the seventh installment in the Coroner Jenny Cooper series.Show more
Intense, brilliant and moving, The Door is a compelling story about the relationship between two women of opposing backgrounds and personalities: one, an intellectual and writer; the other, her housekeeper, a mysterious, elderly woman who sets her own rules and abjures religion, education, pretense and any kind of authority. Beneath this hardened exterior of Emerence lies a painful story that must be concealed. One of Hungary’s best-known writers, Magda Szabó here explores themes of love, loyalty, pride and privacy, and the barriers and secrets that govern them.Show more
In Jilly Cooper's latest, raciest novel, Rupert Campbell-Black takes centre stage in the cut-throat world of flat racing. Rupert is consumed by one obsession: that Love Rat, his adored grey horse, be proclaimed champion stallion. He longs to trounce Roberto's Revenge, the stallion owned by his detested rival Cosmo Rannaldini, which means abandoning his racing empire at Penscombe and his darling wife Taggie, and chasing winners in the richest races worldwide, from Dubai to Los Angeles to Melbourne.Luckily, the fort at home is held by Rupert's assistant Gav, a genius with horses, fancied by every stable lass, but damaged by alcoholism and a vile wife. When Gala, a grieving but ravishing Zimbabwean widow moves to Penscombe as carer for Rupert's wayward father, it is not just Gav who is attracted to her: a returning Rupert finds himself dangerously tempted. Gala adores horses, and when she switches to working in the yard, her carer's job is taken by a devastatingly handsome South African man who claims to be gay but seems far keener on caring for the angelic Taggie. And as increasingly sinister acts of sabotage strike at Penscombe, the game of musical loose boxes gathers apace . . .Everybody loves Jilly Cooper:'Sex and horses: who could ask for more?' Sunday Telegraph'Joyful and mischeivous' Jojo Moyes'A delight from start to finish' Daily Mail'Fun, sexy and unputdownable' Marian Keyes'Escape into an alternative universe in which all is right with the world' Guardian'Flawlessly entertaining' Helen FieldingShow more
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