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Summary

John Hurt stars in this BBC radio dramatisation of Gustave Flaubert’s infamous tale of adultery and tragedy.

Beautiful Emma meets and marries Doctor Charles Bovary. He's happy for the first time in his life - but Emma is distraught that her marriage lacks the passion and romance of her fantasies.

Dazzled by the splendour of a marquis’ ball, she longs for excitement and soon becomes infatuated with a young solicitor, Léon Dupuis. But when Dupuis moves away, her memories of him lead her to despair - and into the arms of wealthy landowner Rodolphe Boulanger. 

As she moves from one illicit liaison to another, Emma’s complicated life begins to unravel. Exhausted from her debts and her affairs, she feels she is left with only one course of action....

A French masterpiece of betrayal and wantonness, Flaubert’s notorious novel features Sarah Smart as Emma Bovary, Conrad Nelson as Charles, Jude Akuwudike as Rodolphe and James D’Arcy as Léon.

Cast and credits

Narrator - John Hurt

Charles - Conrad Nelson

Emma - Sarah Smart

Madame Bovary Snr - Brigit Forsyth

Monsieur Rouault/Maître Guillaumin - Russell Dixon

Viscomte/Dr Lariviere - Martin Reeve

Nastasie/Mère Rollet - Julie McCabe

Madame Lefrancois - Siobahn Finneran

Monsieur Homais/Priest - David Fleeshman

Léon Dupuis - James D’Arcy

Monsieur Lheureux - Seamus O’Neill

Félicité - Sarah Jayne Hallworth

Rodolphe Boulanger - Jude Akuwudike

Justin - Sam Curtis

Berthe Bovary - Daisy Jones

Written by Gustave Flaubert

Dramatised by Diana Griffiths from a translation by Margaret Mauldon

Pianist: Stephen Reynolds

Produced by Pauline Harris

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4th-15th September 2006

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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