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Summary

Alan Bennett's award-winning play as heard on BBC Radio 3 features the National Theatre cast. After a sell-out national tour and an extended stage run, Alan Bennett's phenomenally successful play transfers to BBC Radio 3.

Richard Griffiths, Clive Merrison, and Frances de la Tour star as part of the National Theatre cast. At a boys' grammar school in Sheffield, eight boys are being coached for the Oxbridge entrance exams. It is the mid-eighties, and the main concern of the unruly bunch of bright sixth-formers is getting out, starting university and starting life.

At the heart of The History Boys are four characters, each with contrasting outlooks on teaching and school: Hector, an eccentric English teacher with no interest in exams; Irwin, a young supply teacher who sees history as "entertainment"; Mrs. Lintott, a traditionalist, who teaches "history, not histrionics"; and a Headmaster obsessed with results. Described as "the richest play Bennett has ever written" (Financial Times), staff-room rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence collide in an intensely moving and thought-provoking play.

Winner of the Olivier, Evening Standard, Critics' Circle, and South Bank Show Awards for Best New Play.

Click here to see all the titles in our Alan Bennett collection.

Listen to our charming interview with Alan Bennett on the Audible.co.uk Podcast.

©2005 Alan Bennett; (P)2006 BBC Audiobooks Ltd.

Critic reviews

"A superb, life-enhancing play." (Guardian)
"Intensely moving as well as thought-provoking and funny." (Daily Telegraph)
"Bennett fans can enjoy the clever, dramatic construction and the author's hallmark comedy as the boys and teachers (from the original cast of Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production) bandy ideas about history, philosophy, poetry, education and sex." (Sunday Times Audio Book of the Week)

What members say

Average customer ratings

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wish I'd read it when I was at school

If you ever happen to read this - Thank you for writing ( and not being a gentleman farmer )

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History boys, Alan Bennett at his very best.

I had the great privilege of playing the part of Irwin once and this audio book helped me with all the lines and embedded my love for the story. it's a shame that Stephen Campbell More couldn't be in this audio book but all the rest of the cast are original. I love this play but what I love even more if that I discover something new and something funny each time I listen to it.

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A MUST

Alan Bennett and along with this amazing cast and production share their craft at its best

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Favorite

Most moving story. Can't stop listening again and again. Laugh or cry, love, faith, trust, ttuth, career or education - you choose.

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My favourite play

This radio adaptation was beautifully adapted from the original play with very few changes from the script so nothing is lost. Having the original cast, save for Irwin, was the perfect choice as all the actors created their characters and made them each special. I recommend this to anyone and everyone. A magnificent piece of writing.

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brilliant

engaging/riveting
actors forceful
class discussion - not WHAT happened but what MIGHT have happened
Bennett superlative

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Sublime Bennett....

Downloaded because I am shortly to perform Irwin at a performance in Halifax next month. It's been an invaluable tool. Have listened to it LOTS!

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Superb, superb, superb

I just love this. Bennett at his best, and superbly acted, directed, and produced. Couldn't be better.

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Such a good cast!

So good!! This is at least the second time of listening. The cast in the audio recording are the London west end cast... Spook good :)

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  • Mr
  • 24-07-15

Making history

If you could sum up The History Boys (Dramatised) in three words, what would they be?

Coming of age

What did you like best about this story?

The interactions between the boys and the teachers and the way in which education is depicted.

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

Dakin - a very cocky, arrogant young man!

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

It definitely made me want to cry in places.