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Summary

Actor and sleuth Charles Paris is back in this full-cast BBC radio dramatisation of Simon Brett's novel, starring Bill Nighy.

Locked down with his semi-detached wife, Frances, Charles has thrown himself into a new career as a handyman, becoming quite the DIY expert. He's developed muscles, stopped smoking and even cut back on the booze.

Then his agent, Maurice, offers him the chance to get back on stage - and in a West End play, no less. The star, Justin Grover, asked for him specifically, but Charles has reservations. Grover was cocky enough when they were both young hopefuls; now, he's the star of a massive TV fantasy series, and the play - a verbatim piece set in a monastery - is dire.

So why has Justin signed up for it? He certainly doesn't need the money, unlike Charles. The cast is drearily male, and before long, Charles is hitting the Scotch again. When he drunkenly stumbles over the corpse of a fellow actor, Charles panics, leaving the body to be discovered by someone else. But he soon regrets lying to the police, and driven by guilt and self-preservation, he resolves to find the murderer....

This sparkling adaptation by Jeremy Front stars Bill Nighy (Emma, Love Actually) as Charles Paris, with Suzanne Burden as Frances and Jon Glover as Maurice.

Credits

Written by Simon Brett

Adapted by Jeremy Front

Directed by Sally Avens

Cast

Charles Paris........................Bill Nighy

Frances........................Suzanne Burden

Maurice........................Jon Glover

Justin ........................Tony Turner

Lydia ........................Ria Marshall

Kit ........................Joseph Ayre

Brendan ........................Jonathan Kydd

Nina ........................Marilyn Nnadebe

D.S. Dalby ........................Stewart Campbell

Alice/Peaches ........................Elinor Coleman

Kelly/Dervla ........................Jane Slavin

Bethan ........................Christine Kavanagh

Neil ........................Simon Ludders

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 3-24 September 2021

©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Charles Paris: A Deadly Habit

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another triumph

I must confess to being a fan of the entire series, my only complaint is that there's never enough episodes. great cast, great performance and as ever always a great listen.

4 people found this helpful

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Loved it

I've listened to all the Charles Parises and this is well up there with the best. I love the acting, the characters, the plot, and the comedy. Please keep em coming.

2 people found this helpful

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Wit, sarcasm banter

I loved. I wish the production was longer. The wit, the sarcasm, the banter with Agent and Wife.

2 people found this helpful

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Always excellent

My only complaint Is that it wasn’t longer. Looking forward to the next programme. Jeremy Front provides a sparkling script and Bill Nighy’s gives Charles Paris a blend of winner and loser which keeps you committed to him

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Just plain wonderful.

Proper, old-fashioned crowd-pleaser of a plot, beautifully adapted and acted. Hugely enjoyable. I just wish they’d edited it all together instead of leaving it in the radio episodes in which it was recorded. It is a little tedious having to listen to the credits between each bite. But that’s a small cavil.

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Best ever!

I loved this. It's my absolute favourite of all the Charles Paris stories - and it's tough to choose as the standard is consistently high with excellent performances all round. Perfect listening pleasure!

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Weak

Weakest of all the Charles Paris stories. Great performances still but definitely the weakest of the bunch regrettably.

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  • cmac
  • 26-06-22

Fabulous

Usual excellence of the Charles Paris adaptations - writing sparkles, witty and intelligent, and cast once again brings the characters to exuberant life.

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  • Jennifer G. Cooper
  • 20-10-21

Jcoop

I don’t usually write reviews, but I feel I owe it to everyone involved in these productions to say thank you. These are marvelously written and acted. I could listen to Bill Nighy read ingredients off of cereal boxes and be enthralled. The relationships between the characters are such fun to listen to. I have listened to all of this series multiple times and each time, I feel like I’m checking in with old friends. The chemistry between the three leads is phenomenal and it’s interesting to see how they evolve over time. I put an episode on to fall asleep to many nights. I only wish there were more episodes. In the sultry tone of Charles Paris, “[try it].You know you want to.”

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  • Danzer
  • 05-10-21

Nighy, Burden, Glover. always delightful.

I always love these BBC performances of the Charles Paris series. This one with Charles becoming Dave the Cockney remodeller is especially clever.