Life And Fate, Building 6 - 1 - Those Who Were Still Alive

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Life and Fate: Building 6/1 - Those Who Were Still Alive

by Vasily Grossman

Late October 1942. Building 6/1 is a former apartment building in the centre of Stalingrad, being held by a rag-tag band of Russian soldiers against all the odds, in the teeth of the German advance. Soon the building, and its charismatic Commander, Captain Grekov, are a legend across Russia. But inside the building, Commissar Krymov has arrived to tackle what appears to be subversion, while the radio operator, Katya, falls in love with his nephew, Seryozha.

Dramatised for radio by Jonathan Myerson

Captain Grekov....Joseph Millson

Commissar Krymov....David Tennant

Vasya....Stephen Hogan

Katya....Katie Angelou

Lyakhov....Carl Prekopp

Polyakov....Peter Polycarpou

Seryozha Shaposhnikov....Freddie Fox

Batrakov....James Lailey

Zubarev....Gerard McDermott

Bunchuk....Jonathan Forbes

Directed by Jonquil Panting

Produced by Alison Hindell

Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in this eight hour dramatisation of Life and Fate, an epic saga that fills every drama strand on Radio 4 this week.

Set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad, this huge novel charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war and is increasingly hailed as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the manuscript itself was arrested. Grossman died in 1964, never knowing that his book would be smuggled to the West and eventually published in 1980.

Next today: Life and Fate: Abarchuk [link]

Tomorrow: Life and Fate: Lieutenant Peter Bach [link]

Life and Fate: Novikov's Story [link].

Commissar Krymov is sent to tackle dissent in Stalingrad's 'rat-war' frontline battle.