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My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters

A BBC Radio 4 Adaptation
Length: 44 mins
5 out of 5 stars (20 ratings)
Regular price: £7.99
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Summary

Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.

'Can you feel, as you read these words, that I am thinking of you now; aglow, alive, alert at the thought that you are in the same world, and by some strange chance loving me.'

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration. Inside were bundles and bundles of letters written neatly in pen, in pencil, on thin blue airmail paper or headed army notepaper. Envelopes covered in postmarks, redirections, censor's stamps. A love affair in letters between two people who barely knew each other, thousands of miles apart, in the middle of a war, with no idea when or whether they would ever see each other again.

On September 5th, 1943, Chris Barker, a signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie's reply changed their lives forever.

Chris and Bessie's love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield's book To the Letter. They toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Written by Chris Barker and Bessie Moore.

Letters compiled by Simon Garfield.

Adapted by Sara Davies.

Produced and directed by Gemma Jenkins.

Cast:

Chris - Benedict Cumberbatch
Bessie - Louise Brealey
Irena - Jane Slavin

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

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    5 out of 5 stars

Wonderful story and performance!

Spectacular performance by both artists. A Wonderful old school love story! Endearing and so honest.
Thank you for sharing these precious letters with us.

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Beautifully evocative

These war tine love letters are beautifully read- touching, engaging and poignant. A must listen!

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Absolutely lovely

This was an excellent letter, hopelessly romantic. This has now set a boundary for relationships to come in the future.

Performances were excellent (made me think of Sherlock and molly having a love affair) but was absolutely fantastic.

Read this book!!!!! I know I will listen to it again multiple times!

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Lovely

The most beautiful love story I've ever heard. I'll be falling asleep to this for a long time to come.

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  • Lyn
  • 22-05-18

Tender Lusting

The words of love are one thing. This couple's sentences of longing and imagining are tender and breathy. There is a depth not easily attained in today's text, tweet and swipe relationships. Quite a treasure and a terrific way to get ready for en evening with your partner. What a turn-on!

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Leanne
  • 02-04-18

Sweet romance, top notch narration

What made the experience of listening to My Dear Bessie: A Love Story in Letters the most enjoyable?

The quality of narration stands out. They can really act, and it shows.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

Bessie. She sounded so sweet and hopeful!

Any additional comments?

I'm now in the mood of writing a love letter to my husband!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Daniela
  • 09-02-19

Falling in love with romanticism

I first heard this story on bbc one radio when it was first put on air last year, and I absolutely loved it. Being a realist and a non sentiment about love: this audio brought out the romance in me and love for the story.

Benedict Cumberbatch Jane Slavin and Louise Brealey narrative absorb me into the love story of Bessie and Chris. Love it and would hear it again.

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  • Carol Edwards
  • 09-02-19

Swept off my feet

I love this story, half because it truly happened, and half because of the superb reading by Benedict and Louise. The language is so vivid and rich (and sensuous), and I feel almost guilty eavesdropping on them. But I do anyway, and get thoroughly invested in their fates, which, without trying to spoiler, is a good one.

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  • Ms. Euphoria
  • 17-12-18

Oh for the love of Christopher & Bessie

Please love the 44 minutes as much as I did. It will remind you of why 'fish gotta a swim' and 'birds gotta fly.' And you will swoon to hear Benedict Cumberbatch fall in love and then some. Treat yourself!

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  • Elizabeth Perez
  • 15-12-18

Incandescent masterpiece.

The say only God is perfect. A performance of this magnitude makes one believe otherwise. Radiant.

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  • Vanessa
  • 18-09-18

Live it love it

loved every second. beautiful material, beautifully read and acted. I could hear it on repeat for a whole week

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 18-08-18

Short and Steamy

What great love story. It was a short story but s long love affair. And super sweet. The letters were steamy hot in a very innocent way. I'm glad they found happiness and made it as a couple.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 09-08-18

the best audio to dream about love and passion, a true and passionate love story

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-07-18

A sweet, epistolary story of war-time love.

Benedict is always emotionally pitch-perfect and a deep pleasure to listen to. His partner, Louise, is lovely and has an ardent restraint as Bessie. Let this inspire you to spend time on letters again; there is a depth present in them that leads to something indefinably good.