Running Time approx 14hrs
Seven BBC radio full-cast productions of Noël Coward’s classic plays – plus bonus material
including a profile of Coward and extracts from his diaries.
Seven BBC radio full-cast productions of Noël Coward’s classic plays – plus bonus material including a profile of Coward and extracts from his diaries.
Renowned for his wit, style and sophistication, Noël Coward was one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. His plays, set in the glittering world of high society in which he lived, are much admired and have remained in the popular theatre repertoire to this day.
This collection brings together the very best radio adaptations of Coward’s works, encompassing sparkling comedies of manners Private Lives and Hay Fever, farcical ghost story Blithe Spirit, and daring ménage à trois drama
Design for Living.
Here, too, is his controversial first hit The Vortex; the poignant Still Life (the inspiration for the film Brief Encounter); and the semi-autobiographical Present Laughter.
Among the star-studded cast are Helena Bonham-Carter, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Roger Allam, Harriet Walter, Paul Rhys, Stephanie Cole and Paul Scofield.
Also included is a BBC World Service profile of Noël Coward, comprising interviews, musical extracts and archive clips; and the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From His Diaries’, featuring a selection of passages from Coward’s journal read by Simon Cadell.
Directed by Sally Avens
Judith Bliss…Judi Dench
David Bliss…Michael Williams
Richard Greatham…Geoffrey Palmer
Marya Arundel…Celia Imrie
Jackie Coryton…Patricia Brake
Sandy Tyrell…Christopher Blake
Simon Bliss…Patrick Pearson
Sorel Bliss…Alison Reid
Directed by Leslie Lawton
Madame Arcati…Maggie Steed
Dr Bradman…David Killick
Mrs Bradman…Tilly Tremayne
Dramatised by Bert Coules
Directed by Philip Franks
Design for Living
Ernest Friedman…James Laurenson
Mr Birbeck…Alan Barker
Henry Carver…Bradley Lavell
Miss Hodge/Helen…Joanna Myers
Grace Torrence…Linda Marlowe
Directed by Ned Chaillet
Pianist: Jimmy Hardwick
Florence Lancaster…Harriet Walter
Clara Hibbert…Jenny Funnell
Tom Veryan…Robert Portal
David Lancaster…Peter Blythe
Bunty Mainwaring…Federay Holmes
Bruce Fairlight…Keith Drinkel
Directed by John Tydeman
Pianist: Mike Sykes
Laura Lesson…Amanda Root
Dr Alec Harvey…John Duttine
Myrtle Bagott…Stephanie Cole
Albert Godby…Trevor Peacock
Beryl Waters/Lady on Train…Sunny Ormonde
Dolly Messiter…Josephine Tewson
Dramatised by Malcolm McKee
Directed by Sue Wilson
Music composed by Malcolm McKee
Gary Essendine…Paul Scofield
Liz Essendine…Joy Parker
Monica Reed…Patricia Routledge
Joanna Lyppiatt…Fenella Fielding
Henry Lyppiatt…Alan Rowe
Morris Dixon…Bernard Joyner
Daphne Stillington…Miriam Margolyes
Lady Saltburn…Betty Huntley-Wright
Miss Erikson…Diana Olsson
Roland Maule…David Timson
Dramatised and produced by Ian Cotterell
Noël Coward was born in 1899, and was a professional actor by the age of ten.
In 1920, he starred in his own play, I’ll Leave it to You. His first major hit was The Vortex (1924) and his success continued throughout the Twenties and Thirties with plays including Hay Fever (1926), Private Lives (1930) and Design for Living (1932).
During the Second World War, he wrote the patriotic screenplay In Which We Serve (1942), for which he won an Oscar; as well as scripting the classic film Brief Encounter (1944) and entertaining the nation with the black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941). After the war, Coward added a new string to his bow as a cabaret singer, as well as continuing to write musicals and plays.
In all, Coward wrote 40 plays, 300 songs and numerous poems, short stories and films.
He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in 1973.