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An epic BBC radio adaptation of John Galsworthy's complete Forsyte Chronicles, narrated by Dirk Bogarde and with an all-star cast

First broadcast in 1990, this monumental adaptation of John Galsworthy's Nobel Prize-winning novel series was a radio event. It was the most expensive drama serial ever produced, featured one of the biggest, most star-studded casts and dominated the Radio 4 schedules for over five months, attracting over a million listeners each week. Comprising all nine books in Galsworthy's Forsyte Chronicles, it spans 50 years - from 1886 to 1936 - and tells the irresistible story of an upper-class dynasty torn apart by a terrible feud.

Wealthy, privileged and successful, the Forsytes seem to have it all. But the disastrous marriage of Irene and Soames Forsyte, and the dire consequences of one night and the next foggy day, are to split the family for generations. As the sins of the father are visited upon the children, the younger Forsytes - from Soames' daughter Fleur to her cousin Dinny Cherrell - find themselves doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past as they experience both the pain and the promise of love. Beset by emotional disasters, domestic dramas and society scandals, can the various members of this sprawling family ever find lasting happiness?

This sweeping tale of passion, power and money stars a host of outstanding actors, including Dirk Bogarde, Alan Howard, Michael Hordern, Diana Quick, Michael Williams, Maurice Denham, Amanda Redman and Sophie Thompson.

Cast and credits

Written by John Galsworthy

The Forsyte Chronicles
Galsworthy - Dirk Bogarde
Old Jolyon - Michael Hordern
Soames Forsyte - Alan Howard
Irene - Diana Quick
Young Jolyon - Michael Williams
James - Maurice Denham
Aunt Ann - Fabia Drake
Aunt Hester - Rachel Kempson
Aunt Juley - Renee Asherson
June - Angela Pleasence
Philip Bosinney - Michael Cochrane
Swithin - David March
Roger/Justice Bentham/Sir Luke Sharman/Adrian Cherrell - John Moffatt
George/Monsieur Profond - Christopher Good
Nicholas - John Gabriel
Emily - Maxine Audley
Winifred - Fiona Walker
Montague Dartie/Elderson - Donald Gee
Francie - Susan Sheridan
Mrs Macander/Mme Lamotte/Smither/American woman - Jo Kendall
Young Chankery - Charles Simpson
Waterbuck, QC/Timothy/Mr Settlewhite/Hilary Cherrell - David King
Annette - Shelley Thompson
Holly - Elizabeth Mansfield
Val - Dale Rapley
Jolly - Paul Downing
Dreamer/Francis/Francis Wilmot/Hubert Cherrell - Simon Treves
Polteed/Gradman/Cuthbert Mothergil/Editor/Foskisson/Blore - Brian Miller
Doctor/Lord Charles Ferrar/Lionel Cherrell/Neil Wintney/Mr Instone - James Greene
Fleur - Amanda Redman

Other Cast: Gary Cady, Gary Bond,Tara Dominick, Vincent Brimble, Nicholas Gilbrook, Sue Broomfield, Paul Daneman, Philip Sully, Stephen Garlick,John Bull, Danny Schiller, Belinda Lang, Jack May, Ben Onwukwe, David Bannerman, Ian Lindsay, Stuart McGuigan, Michael Kilgarriff, Catherine Furshpan, Christopher Scott, Garard Green, Mary Allen, Sophie Thompson, Dorothy Tutin, Peter Marinker, Moir Leslie, Danielle Allan, Paul Rattigan, Jack Klaff, Lois Burgess, Miranda Foster, Peter Howell, Aubrey Woods, Jody McDonald, James Warwick, David Yelland, Matthew Solon, Elizabeth Kelly, William Wortley, Henry Power, Leonard Fenton, Jenny Howe and Nigel Carrington

Dramatised by David Spenser, Shirley Gee and Elspeth Sandys
Directed by Janet Whitaker, Anthony Cornish and Sue Wilson
Series producer: Janet Whitaker
Pianist: Mary Nash

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 September 1990-2 March 1991

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

Critic reviews

"Hallmarked with elegance and craftsmanship." (The Evening Standard)

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