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Publisher's Summary

BBC Radio adaptations of three of Georgette Heyer’s sparkling Regency romances and a classic comedy thriller.

The acknowledged ‘queen of Regency romance’, best-selling author Georgette Heyer, also penned a dozen delightful mystery novels. Included here are dramatisations of four of her finest stories from both genres, full of her characteristic wit, charm and period detail.

Regency Buck

Pretty but shrewd Judith Taverner gallops in from the provinces and daringly defies the gaming, drinking and brawling world of Regency London to claim her rights, her fortune - and who knows, perhaps her happiness? Starring Elizabeth Proud as Judith Taverner and Simon Shepherd as Peregrine Taverner.

Friday’s Child

‘I’m going back to London! And I’m going to marry the first woman I see!’ is the cry of young Lord Sheringham when his proposal of marriage is rejected by Isabella, the Incomparable. True to his word, he takes the even younger Hero Wantage as his bride.... Starring James Frain as Viscount Anthony Sheringham and Elli Garnett as Hero Wantage, with Simon Russell Beale as Jasper Tarleton.

Faro’s Daughter

Deborah Grantham’s position in a gaming house makes her utterly unsuitable as a wife for a nobleman, so Max Ravenscar determines to rescue his cousin from her clutches. But the bribe he offers does not go down well and a battle of wits commences.... Starring Sylvestre Le Touzel as Deborah Grantham and Nathaniel Parker as Max Ravenscar, with Anna Massey as Lady Bellingham.

Envious Casca

An English country Christmas in the 1930s, a Tudor manor house decked with holly, a family gathered for seasonal cheer - and a murder. Inspector Hemingway is on the case, but can he shake off amateur sleuths Toby and Jane French? Starring Peter Kelly as Inspector Hemingway, James Fleet as Toby and Helen Baxendale as Jane.

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about The Georgette Heyer BBC Radio Drama Collection

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Pretty average

If you’re a lover of Georgette Heyer you might struggle with these abridged versions, as so much of the fun and frivolity has been cut out.
Many of the performances are not the greatest either.

2 people found this helpful

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Too hard to listen to.

I appreciate Georgette Heyer’s period novels, but her detective yarns are too hard to get onto. Will not be keeping this.

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Enjoyed the short versions of the stories

I enjoyed the shorter versions of Georgette Heyers books. The last story was a great end to finish off the list. I loved the sound effects, the characters voices were well suited and it made me feel as though I was there. It was like listening to the radio before television was invented, only the pictures were better.

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  • Carol
  • 14-08-2020

Beware of Disappointment

Radio dramatizations are an acquired taste in today’s world. I enjoyed the BBC dramatization of the Charles Paris books by Simon Brett but I had not considered before ordering this release that drastically abridging Georgette Heyer’s famous Regency novels, and reducing them to only dialog, loses almost all of the rich period ambiance, amazing characterizations, and (especially) subtle and elegant humor. In short, if you are like me and are a longstanding and devoted fan of Heyer, these adaptations will almost certainly be a disappointment.

That said, I found two of the pieces mildly enjoyable, one adequate, and the fourth, well… unbearable.

Regency Buck: Although not considered among her best, this book has always been one of my favorite Heyer Regencies. I could not even listen to this version. I tried. It’s a badly mangled abridgment, and has been shockingly miscast. I cannot imagine how they found these two duds among all the great British actors. The heroine’s grating, unpleasant voice makes her sound like a middle-aged matron (she is supposed to be a charming if forthright 20-year-old; her reaching her “majority” and coming into her inheritance is a major plot point). As for the Earl of Worth, one of Heyer’s more memorable heroes, someone (I’m guessing the director) decided he should cackle like the stereotype sinister villain; another reviewer mentioned mustache-twirling, and they are right. This is the first of the four stories, and you *must* skip it!

Faro’s Daughter: I almost gave in after “Regency Buck,” but went on to be pleasantly surprised by this one. This story of a young woman who is a dealer in her aunt’s select, high-class gaming establishment and her unlikely pairing with “the very rich Mr. Ravenscar” is one of the shorter Heyer novels, and the adaptation here is both well written and well cast.

Friday’s Child: Meh. One of the sillier Heyer romps, here it becomes an almost slapstick farce, but it’s not bad (at least not after the first horrifying experience). Pleasant voices, silly antics, a little hard to follow the many male characters.

Envious Casca: This is not a Regency but a locked-door murder mystery a la Agatha Christie. Heyer wrote about a dozen contemporary murder mysteries (which means that, like Christie’s, they are set the 1930s – 50s), and this is by far the best of them. It’s one I’ve always wished Masterpiece Theatre would dramatize. Once I got over the shock of meeting--right at the start-- two characters who do not even appear in the book, turning them into the focal-point “observers” of the murder that occurs about 1/3 of the way through, I enjoyed this. There is a lot of dialog in the original book, and a good deal of it is delivered verbatim here (I know, because I’ve read the book more times than I care to admit). The book is better, and the surprise ending does not work nearly as well here as it does in the book, but the adaptation is well done, well cast, and it’s an enjoyable period piece if you like the sort of thing.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Kelli
  • 17-07-2020

Awful

I rarely write reviews, but I had to for this one. I pre-ordered this and waited patiently for it to be released. Such a disappointment! I LOVE these books but the performance in these was not what I was expecting. The female leads sound petulant and just too annoying to listen to. I think I’ll stick with the books!

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amy Gevas
  • 21-08-2020

Battered and Beaten Storylines

Stories ripped to pieces, this listens like a audio version of someone's notes on a book read aloud. It kills all the good color of a Heyer novel. The voice acting is sometimes fine but often poor casting choices (such as a 16 year old Hero Wantage played by a 3 pack a day smokey voice). If you have not read these novels, you probably won't follow the stories, or at least, you won't see why you should. If you have read them, you will be appalled.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Christiane L. Brown
  • 26-08-2020

Incredibly Disappointing - An Insult to Georgette Heyer’s Wit and Skill

I would be astonished if any of the actors in this travesty of a collection had ever even read a Georgette Heyer novel - and if they did, they clearly didn’t understand it. Missing from their performances is all of the wit, nuance, pace, tone and delight of her writing. The performances are devoid of any perception of Georgette Heyer’s plots or who the characters were written to be. To attempt to perform Georgette Heyer dialogue, without the benefit of her skilled descriptions of scenes, plots and characters, requires an acute understanding of the humor, intelligence and subtlety she beautifully wove into all of her beloved stories. These performances entirely miss the mark, and are an insult to the original books and the author. Don’t waste your time

4 people found this helpful

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  • noagnes
  • 27-08-2020

Too shortened, wrong voice types

It was a huge disappointment.- I love Georgette Heyer and was hopeful about a dramatization with different voices. When I saw that 4 books were all together aboutr 6 hours long I became suspicious. Then I started listening, and oh dear, what a mess. In Regency Buck, Peregrin's voice ought to have been more youthful and less decisive; Worth's felt like sneering all the time when not chuckling evilly. In Friday's Child, I could not determine whivch male character was speaking, the voice types and intonations were so similar. Also, Hero's voice ought to have been more lighthearted, more excitable and express more naivete. And oh, the storylines were so shortened that one could hardly follow the complexities of Regency Buck, let alone Hero and Sherry's story. I did not begin to experiment with the rest, I returned the title to make better use of my credit.

3 people found this helpful

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  • AMP5
  • 24-07-2020

Eagerly anticipated, but disappointed

I kind of enjoyed most of added sound effects, and the various narrators. I suppose part of disappointment was there were only four stories. I had just listened to regular Audible performance of two of them, Friday’s Child and Faro’s Daughter. I tried first two and fourth. Having just listened to a Friday’s Child, I was surprised I enjoyed regular one narrator version of Audible over this BBC version. Also I noticed they edited quite liberally, leaving me in
confusion of what was going on, and I knew the story well. The first, Regency Buck, is one of my least favorite of Heyer’s, and the last was one of Heyer’s mystery thrillers set in later era than Regency, and after 15 minutes I couldn’t listen anymore. All were strangely irritating.
So yeah, I was really bummed. I had hoped for more stories and more of my favorites.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Jennifer Baratta
  • 20-12-2020

The narrators were brilliant and engaging.

Great stories are wonderful to listen to. Georgette Heyer was a great author and please listen to this.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rather be reading
  • 28-07-2020

Not her best stories

I have read books by her that I enjoyed more than these. The mystery was the best story but it’s presentation was the least enjoyed because it was broken into parts.

1 person found this helpful

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  • NJ Mom
  • 21-07-2020

Stick to the books or audio books so far...

Regency Buck never one of my favorites but the sneering laugh and mustache twirling they use for Worth is such a disservice!
And so much abridgment on RB that the best scenes after the race and pavilion cut out! I listened to Faros Daughter BBC drama before and hope I still like it and will try the rest but poor poor Regency Buck!!!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tesli
  • 18-07-2020

very enjoyable

Loved this dramatized version of Georgette Heyers stories. Well done! Always wondered why none of her books became movies.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Rebecca Webb
  • 17-07-2020

Disappointing - especially for Heyer fans

I suppose one really shouldn't get one's hopes up. I adore Heyer's books (a whole bookcase full!) and was so excited to listen to these dramatisations. Its the BBC for Goodness Sake! The Gold Standard! But in reality these 4 are all rather disappointing - especially to those who know the characters and plot lines inside out.

The 3 romances have been truncated to just 1 hr+; so much has been left out that the characters are underdeveloped, key scenes are rushed through or happen 'off stage' and they come across as shallow romance-trash that could have been written by Barbara Cartland. Quality actors are struggling with the material and the only one which matched my imagined version was Julian Rhind-Tutt as Ferdy in 'Friday's Child'

For years I have thought that Heyer's crime books should be dramatised - they are more peppery than Agatha Christie but not as scholarly as that other Queen of Crime, Dorothy L Sayers. Again, it is highly abridged, but my worst gripe is that the writer has added 2 characters (I think from another novel; cannot quite remember) to play the part of narration and exposition. As a consequence Stephen & Matilda have sunk to being 'Spear Carriers'. The plot has become less than unrealistic, making you have little understanding why the murder happened in the first place!

Sorry - nothing positive. Feet of Clay.

16 people found this helpful

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  • Clair
  • 21-07-2020

Not what I hoped for

I was really looking forward to this collection. I prefer her regency novels but was prepared to accept the detective story too. Unfortunately the latter receives the better treatment, being divided into four episodes.
I particularly resent the version of Regency Buck. The actor chosen to play Worth has a tendency to titter. The amount of time allocated meant the story was rushed through with no opportunity to judge the difference in the two male characters and little thought for the tension created by Miss Heyer. We are meant not to know who is the villain which is the heart of the book, not so as you’d notice from this version. The other two Regency novels were slightly better and the two leads in Faro’s Daughter well chosen.

8 people found this helpful

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  • mrs linda shafto
  • 17-07-2020

Really well done, an old recording but too short

This must have been recorded a long time ago as Anna Massey passed away in 2011.
It is brilliantly done and the performances and music are excellent. But the dramas are so fast moving and short that unless you know the story, it must be hard to get a feeling for a character. Fridays child is one of my favourites and it is funny with Sherrys friends being played perfectly but they miss so much of the story, particularly the naivety of the young married couple that is so endearing.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • dr v m cadman
  • 21-07-2020

A poor substitute for reading the books

As a long term Heyer fan I was looking forward to these but they are a big disappointment. As is increasingly typical, the stories are raced through with scant regard for the building of the characters or their relationships so it's hard to care about anyone. It's also hard to follow, which given how well I know these stories, is quite an achievement. Most of the cast seem to be overacting horribly except for Sam Shepherd, who at least sounds like he knows this isn't restoration comedy. Worth is one of my favourite characters in Heyer and frankly comes over as both too old and insufferably pompous, whilst Miss Taverner is totally unappealing and rather a harpy. I wish the producers had given this the time and treatment Heyer's
wit and light touch deserves, but as it is, it is both underwritten and overdrawn. Sadly, this doesn't surprise me since the BBC these days seems to think we don't want characters but just plot plot plot or issues issues issues, as if we get bored by nuance and just want action and drama (or to be preached at).
What results here are stories that feel mechanistic and charmless. Frankly, I would stick with the books and give these a miss

6 people found this helpful

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  • C. Kennedy
  • 11-08-2020

Abridged too far

I am not sure if you were not already intimately acquainted with the stories to which these performances relate, it would be sufficient to enable you to understand the story.
The great joys of Georgette Heyer is her plotting and her dialogue. Too much of the former has been lost leaving the latter sitting uncomfortably.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Geoff
  • 03-02-2021

Lost the Spirit of Heyer

I was disappointed with these dramatisations, whomever wrote the scripts totally lost the subtle humour that Heyer put into her books. Friday's Child was particularly poor, cut very short and lost most of the humour especially from Ferdy.

1 person found this helpful

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  • cynthia j
  • 03-08-2020

Just one thing wrong

The first three plays are great, just wish they could have been longer. But Envious Casca has two extra totally unnecessary characters added for no good reason. In doing that the roles of the hero and heroine are reduced to nearly nothing so what was the point of that? Also it undersells Inspector Hemingway’s intelligence, making out he needed an old friend to solve it for him. All Heyer readers know how superfluous that is. It wasn’t too bad but I prefer sticking to the book. Still worth listening to and the first three are as good as they can be given the time restraints. Wish they’d do all the Heyers.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Slater M
  • 09-04-2021

Time remembered

Took me right back to teenage obsession with GH in the 1950s. As much fun as I remembered!



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  • WINWIG
  • 07-03-2021

Appalling

I've loved the GH novels ever since my early teens and thought I'd give these a try. BIG mistake. There is more caricature than character and none of the cleverness and wit comes across. The voices are sometimes the antithesis of the character in the book (Judith Taverner as a squeaking schoolgirl, Hero Wantage husky and low pitched like a cigarette fuelled 1960s beatnik). if you love these books or want to get what GH is about, read them. this series is truly awful.

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  • Tab
  • 06-02-2021

Absolutely agonising, avoid at all costs

How bad can it be, I thought. Oh boy. Bad. BAD. BAD!!!!!!!!!!!!

Simpering women, lisping men, camp villains, everything overblown and overacted to the point of it sounding like a spoof. How did they manage to collect casts that were this abysmal? Maybe it improved later on, after enduring the horror of Regency Buck (and believe me, it was utter horror), I got halfway through Friday’s Child (only marginally better) and suddenly thought, why am I putting myself through this, just listen to the audiobooks!!!

Seriously, avoid avoid avoid. This will sadly convince people that Georgette Heyer was the same as Barbara Cartland, when in fact she wrote wonderful, witty, clever books, without a cardboard character in them (even the slightest character with only a line of dialogue was well written), unlike this train wreck dramatisation.

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