Toby Stephens is back as Raymond Chandler's fast-talking private eye Philip Marlowe.This is California in the 50's, as beautiful as a ripe fruit and rotten to the core, reflecting all the tarnished glitter of the American Dream. Outside a club on Sunset Boulevard Marlowe meets a drunk named Terry Lennox, a man with scars on one side of his face. They forge an uneasy friendship but everything changes when Lennox shows up late one night, asking for a favour.
Philip Marlowe...Toby Stephens
Terry Lennox....Trevor White
Eileen Wade...Saskia Reeves
Roger Wade...Peter Polycarpou
Howard Spencer...James Lailey
Dramatised by Stephen Wyatt
Directed by Claire Grove
This series brings all the Philip Marlowe novels to Radio 4's Saturday Play. The Big Sleep 1939, Farewell My Lovely 1940, The High Window 1942, The Lady in the Lake 1943, The Little Sister 1949 and The Long Goodbye 1953, and two lesser known novels, Playback 1958 and Poodle Springs, unfinished at the time of his death in 1959.
Toby Stephens is best known for playing megavillain Gustav Graves in the James Bond film Die Another Day (2002) and Edward Fairfax Rochester in the BBC television adaptation of Jane Eyre (2006). In autumn 2010 Toby starred as a detective in Vexed, a three-part comedic television series for BBC Two. He also made his debut at the National Theatre as George Danton in Danton's Death.
Raymond Chandler was born in Chicago, Illinois, on July 23, 1888, but spent most of his boyhood and youth in England, where he attended Dulwich College and later worked as a freelance journalist for The Westminster Gazette and The Spectator. During World War I, he served in France with the First Division of the Canadian Expeditionary Force, transferring later to the R. A. F. In 1919 he returned to the United States, settling in California, where he eventually became director of a number of independent oil companies. The Depression put an end to his business career, and in 1933, at the age of forty-five, he turned to writing, publishing his first stories in Black Mask. By the time he published his first novel, The Big Sleep (1939), featuring the iconic private eye Philip Marlowe, it was clear that he had not only mastered a genre but had set a standard to which others could only aspire. He died in 1959.