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Summary

A brand new BBC Radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's award-winning fairytale, merging Snow White and Sleeping Beauty to enchanting effect.

In a mountain kingdom far away, a young queen prepares for her wedding, believing her future is sealed. But when three dwarves bring news of a sleeping sickness sweeping across her realm, she knows she cannot stand by and do nothing. As a girl, she survived her own long, magical sleep, so she must try to turn back this new plague and save her people.

Abandoning her bridal finery, she dons her armour instead, and rides out to a castle at the very heart of the sleeping lands. There, she finds a beautiful princess, sound asleep, and a very old woman, forever awake. With no handsome prince in sight, the queen wakes the princess in the traditional way - but things are not as they seem, and it will take more than a kiss to ensure everyone lives happily ever after.

Penelope Wilton, Gwendoline Christie, Ralph Ineson and Neil Gaiman himself are among the star cast in this captivating fable of love, loss, hope and destiny.

This release is an extended cut of the story broadcast on BBC Radio 4 and features an exclusive introduction from Neil Gaiman.

Credits

Written by Neil Gaiman

Adapted by Katie Hims

Directed and produced by Allegra McIlroy

Recorded remotely by Sharon Hughes and John Benton

Sound design by Sharon Hughes

A BBC Audio North Production 

Cast

The Narrator/The Old Woman - Dame Penelope Wilton

The Queen - Gwendoline Christie

The Home Secretary - Neil Gaiman

The First Dwarf - Ralph Ineson

The Second Dwarf - Stefan Adegbola

The Third Dwarf/The Prince/The Tinker/The Woodcutter - Ian Dunnett Jnr 

The Pot Girl/The Young Girl/The Mother - Cecilia Appiah

The Maid/The Other Woman/The Stepmother - Emma Handy

The Father/The Inn Keeper/The Bandit - Roger Ringrose

The Child - Milton Dighton

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26th December 2020

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

What listeners say about The Sleeper and the Spindle

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mystical and charming story, a fully realised adaptation of Gaiman’s fairy tale with a twist

Gwendoline Christie plays Snow White, realised as a warrior queen who with the help of three of the original dwarves she faced off against the evil witch in her youth, takes it upon herself to quest to a cursed land where a sleeping plague has claimed its people.
Neil Gaiman begins this audible tale with a five minute anecdote in which he recalls the previous year that has gone by, having to record and help put this tale together under COVID conditions, making this audiobook particularly relevant. He also reflects on the meeting he had with Sir Terry Pratchett to record their lines for the Good Omens audiobook, not long before he passed. This is a short audiobook but felt like a real treat, with Gaiman himself guest starring in it as well. The music sets the scenes perfectly and perfectly establishes tension in the later scenes, going hand in hand with the dialogue to create some unnerving and engaging scenes as the Queen enters the dreamlike realm where the plague has taken hold, where she not only confronts an unexpected villain, but also the shades of her own past. Gwendoline and her fellow cast members as well as the team have done a brilliant job with this production. Worth the listen!

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Not as clever as Gaiman thinks it is...

This is a well-produced short fairytale, but comes nowhere near to the reimagined classic Gaiman makes it out to be in his introduction to the piece. There have been far clever, more ambitious spins on great fairy stories. The performances are engaging though and half an hour passes by nicely. But original or clever it is not.

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Excellent. Clever and Entertaining

A quality cast performing a clever twist on a classic fairy tale by Neil Gaiman. Listen and enjoy. Buy the book, illustrated by Chris Riddell, and enjoy even more.