By Charles Dickens
Dramatised by Mike Walker
Episode 1/5: Recalled to Life
Robert Lindsay leads a cast which includes Alison Steadman, Jonathan Coy, Andrew Scott, Paul Ready and Karl Johnson in a new dramatisation of Charles Dickens's classic 'A Tale of Two Cities'. With original music by Lennert Busch.
From the echo of the first line 'It was the best of times, it was the worst of times' to the final 'It is a far far better thing that I do than I have ever done', Dickens's novel of the French revolution tells a story of the redemptive powers of love in the face of cruelty, violence and neglect.
The first radio dramatisation of the book for over twenty years is to be broadcast as part of the BBC's celebration of the bi-centenary of Charles Dickens's birth.
Written and published in weekly instalments in 1859, A Tale of Two Cities is set in London and Paris before and during the French Revolution. It shows the plight of the French people under the brutal oppression of the aristocracy in the years leading up to the revolution, and the corresponding savage brutality of the revolutionaries toward the former aristocrats in the years immediately following. The story follows several characters through these events, notably Charles Darnay, a French former aristocrat who falls victim to the indiscriminate wrath of the revolution, and Sydney Carton, a dissipated English barrister who tries to redeem his ill-spent life out of love for Darnay's wife, Lucie Manette.
Although the events covered in A Tale of Two Cities cover eight years, the plot develops and builds powerfully from the moment that the story opens, with the coded rumours of Dr Manette being 'restored to life' and Dickens orchestrates the wider political picture behind the story of Lucie, Darnay and Carton, with his customary brilliance.
Charles Dickens...Robert Lindsay
Jarvis Lorry...Jonathan Coy
Miss Pross...Alison Steadman
Lucie Manette...Lydia Wilson
Dr Alexandre Manette...Karl Johnson
Charles Darnay...Andrew Scott
Ernest Defarge...James Lailey
Therese Defarge...Tracy Wiles
Jerry Cruncher...Carl Prekopp
With Adam Billington and Christopher Webster
Music by Lennert Busch
Directed by Jessica Dromgoole and Jeremy Mortimer
This is the sixth Dickens novel that Mike Walker has dramatised for Radio 4. His dramatisation of Our Mutual Friend, also directed by Jeremy Mortimer and Jessica Dromgoole, was broadcast in the Woman's Hour drama slot in 2009.
Lennert Busch recently graduated from the National Film and Television School in the United Kingdom. Recent work includes commissions for BBC2, BBC Radio 4, Al Jazeera and Channel 4. In 2010 Lennert composed the score for The Origin of Creatures by Floris Kaayk which was selected as the Dutch entry for the Academy Awards of 2011 and won several awards.
An encounter on the Dover Road, and a message.