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The BBC Collection - Literature

The back-story to some of the greatest works of literature is often as engrossing as the works themselves. Discover the circumstances behind Charles Dickens's last, unfinished novel, explore the work of Shakespeare with Lenny Henry, or hear about G.K. Chesterton's beloved detective, Father Brown.

 
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  • Lenny & Will: Act One Audiobook by Lenny Henry Narrated by Lenny Henry

    Lenny & Will: Act One

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Lenny Henry
    • Narrated By Lenny Henry
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    "My first experience of Shakespeare was reading it out in class and none of us understanding it, and we only got it when we saw the Zeffirelli film of Romeo and Juliet and realised - oh it's a story! Why didn't he say that!" Starting at the recreated globe theatre, Lenny takes a journey of discovery through the plays he's now passionate about to find out why we so often put the bard on a pedestal.

  • Lenny & Will: Act Two Audiobook by Lenny Henry Narrated by Lenny Henry

    Lenny & Will: Act Two

    • UNABRIDGED (27 mins)
    • By Lenny Henry
    • Narrated By Lenny Henry
    Overall
    (3)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Having been put off Shakespeare by unimaginative schoolteachers, Lenny Henry recently confessed to a late-flowering passion for the plays. Pursuing his new-found enthusiasm, he now gets to grips with how the magic comes to life, watching Sir Peter Hall in rehearsal for a triumphant Measure for Measure and by even trying his own hand at Othello.

  • Angela Carter's Love Affair with Radio Radio/TV Program by Charlotte Crofts Narrated by Charlotte Crofts

    Angela Carter's Love Affair with Radio

    • ORIGINAL (27 mins)
    • By Charlotte Crofts
    • Narrated By Charlotte Crofts
    Overall
    (1)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (1)

    Angela Carter's relationship with radio began with an accidental sound effect. She went on to write two docu-dramas, Come Unto These Yellow Sands (about the Victorian painter Richard Dadd) and A Self-Made Man (about Edwardian novelist Ronald Firbank) and re-worked two of her short stories into radio plays. Carter loved radio's technical possibilities: the opportunity to extend the power of the written word, blurring the lines of traditional narrative into 'three-dimensional story-telling'.

  • Shakespeare's Restless World Audiobook by Neil MacGregor Narrated by Neil MacGregor

    Shakespeare's Restless World

    • UNABRIDGED (4 hrs and 32 mins)
    • By Neil MacGregor
    • Narrated By Neil MacGregor
    Overall
    (14)
    Performance
    (13)
    Story
    (13)

    What was life like for Shakespeare's first audiences? In a time of political and religious unrest and economic expansion, how did Elizabethan play-goers make sense of their changing world? What did the plays mean to the public when they were first performed? In this fascinating series, Neil MacGregor attempts to answer these questions by examining 20 objects from that turbulent period. There are grand objects such as a communion chalice, a Venetian goblet, and Dr Dee's mirror, as well as everyday items.

  • The Mystery of Father Brown: Ann Widdecombe Investigates Audiobook by AudioGO Ltd Narrated by Ann Widdecombe

    The Mystery of Father Brown: Ann Widdecombe Investigates

    • UNABRIDGED (26 mins)
    • By AudioGO Ltd
    • Narrated By Ann Widdecombe
    Overall
    (1)
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    Life-long Father Brown fan Ann Widdecombe explores the enduring impact of the shambolic priest, and looks into the life of his creator G.K. Chesterton. 2011 marks the 100th anniversary of the publication of The Innocence of Father Brown. Ann Widdecombe goes on the trail of G.K. Chesterton's crime-solving cleric, whose unlikely methods make him one of the great heroes of the Golden Age of Detective Fiction.

  • The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood Radio/TV Program by Frances Fyfield Narrated by Frances Fyfield

    The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood

    • ORIGINAL (27 mins)
    • By Frances Fyfield
    • Narrated By Frances Fyfield
    Overall
    (2)
    Performance
    (1)
    Story
    (2)

    Writer Frances Fyfield uses the manuscript of Dickens's last, unfinished, novel to work on the mystery of what happened to the book's eponymous hero, Edwin Drood. First broadcast: BBC Radio 4, 19 January 2012.

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