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Summary

A landmark BBC radio production of Proust's epic masterpiece, starring Derek Jacobi as the narrator, Marcel.

Waking in the small hours, Marcel Proust embarks on a retrospective journey, endeavouring to capture the elusive moments that shaped his life. A sip of tea and the taste of a madeleine prompt further recollections, and the floodgates of memory open, pouring forth a torrent of vivid reminiscences.

Beginning with his childhood summers in Combray, and the long nights waiting for his mother to come and kiss him goodnight, he looks back on the places and people who have had a significant lasting impact on him. The tragic story of his neighbour, Charles Swann's, obsessive love for the seductive Odette brings to mind his own youthful experiences and amours in Paris, Balbec and Venice; his mistress, Albertine; his closest companion, Robert; his predatory acquaintance the Baron de Charlus; and his many high-society friends and associates.

Time, and the Great War, take their toll on Marcel and his circle, rendering the world he knows unrecognizable. But as he attempts to reconcile his past with his present, an encounter with an old flame sparks an epiphany, enabling him to finally become the writer he has always yearned to be....

Adapted from the French by acclaimed playwright Timberlake Wertenbaker, this superb dramatisation of Proust's allegorical reflection on time, memory, art and love boasts an all-star cast including Derek Jacobi, Frances Barber, Paterson Joseph, Simon Russell Beale, Hattie Morahan and Robert Glenister.

Production credits

Translated and adapted from the French by Timberlake Wertenbaker

Produced and directed by Celia de Wolff

Production Co-ordinator: Sarah Tombling

Recording and Sound Design: David Chilton and Lucinda Mason Brown

Executive Producer: Peter Hoare

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4

Cast

Marcel (narrator) - Derek Jacobi

Young Marcel - Isaac Watts

Maman - Sylvestra le Touzel

Papa - Oliver Cotton

Grand-mère - Joanna David

Françoise - Susan Brown

Madame Verdurin - Frances Barber

Monsieur Verdurin - Jeff Rawle

Doctor Cottard - Lloyd Hutchinson

Tante Leonie/Marquise de Sainte Euverte/Madame de Sazerat - Pamela Miles

Mademoiselle Vinteuil/Prostitute/Madame d'Arpajon - Charlotte Blandford

Mademoiselle Vinteuil's friend/Another prostitute - Phoebe Marshall

Odette - Bessie Carter

Pianist/Lift boy/Servant - Daniel Whitlam

Charles Swann - Paterson Joseph

Remi/Ski/Man at desk - Nicholas Armfield

Elstir Biche/Monsieur de Breaute/Butler - Daniel Flynn

Madame de Gallardon/Queen of Naples - Christine Kavanagh

Brichot - Hugh Ross

Forcheville/Boss/Bloch - Nicholas Gleaves

Saniette/Older man - Roger Watkins

Madame Cottard/Princess de Parme/Madame de Cambremer/Woman guest - Emma Amos

Young Gilberte - Mary Glen

Young Marcel - Isaac Watts

Marcel - Blake Ritson

Gilberte - Emma Mackey

Monsieur de Norpois/De Boulbon/Servant/Jupien/Marquis de Cambremer - Ben Crowe

Robert de Saint Loup - Kyle Soller

Basin, Duke of Guermantes - Robert Glenister

Oriane, Duchess of Guermantes - Fenella Woolgar

Baron de Charlus - Simon Russell Beale

Albertine - Hattie Morahan

Morel - Tom Glenister

Andree - Georgina Beedle

Madame de Villeparisis - Serena Evans

Servant/Concierge/Manager/Doctor - Finlay Paul

Other voices - Nicholas Armfield, Phoebe Marshall

Soldiers - Daniel Whitlam, Nicholas Armfield, Toheeb Jimoh, Tom Glenister

Telephone operator - Alice Hoskyns

Young men - Toheeb Jimoh, Finlay Paul, Daniel Whitlam, Sam Rawle

Other parts played by members of the company

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 24th - 26th August 2019

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic reviews

"Beautiful," (Charlotte Runcie, The Telegraph)

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