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The Noel Coward BBC Radio Drama Collection

Seven BBC Radio Full-cast Productions
Length: 11 hrs and 55 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (9 ratings)

Non-member price: $39.50

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Publisher's Summary

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 20th 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.
 

Track listing:

 1-2: Private Lives
3-4: Hay Fever
5-6: Blithe Spirit
7-10: Design for Living
11-12: The Vortex
13: Still Life
14-16: Present Laughter
17: Meridian: Noël Coward profile
18-20: Noël Coward - From His Diaries
 

Private Lives
Amanda…Helena Bonham-Carter
Elyot…Bill Nighy
Sibyl…Andrea Riseborough
Victor…Paul Ritter
Louise…AnnaRose Cattanach
Directed by Sally Avens
 

Hay Fever
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
Qara…Patricia Hayes
Directed by Leslie Lawton
 

Blithe Spirit
Charles…Roger Allam
Madame Arcati…Maggie Steed
Elvira…Zoe Waites
Ruth…Hermione Gulliford
Dr Bradman…David Killick
Mrs Bradman…Tilly Tremayne
Edith…Natalie Cassidy
Directed by Philip Franks
 

Design for Living
Gilda…Cheryl Campbell
Otto…Alex Jennings
Leo…Michael Kitchen
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
 

The Vortex
Florence Lancaster…Harriet Walter
Nicky…Paul Rhys
Helen…Frances Jeater
Pawnie…John Rye
Clara Hibbert…Jenny Funnell
Tom Veryan…Robert Portal
David Lancaster…Peter Blythe
Bunty Mainwaring…Federay Holmes
Bruce Fairlight…Keith Drinkel
Preston…Pamela Grace
Directed by John Tydeman
 

Still Life
Laura Lesson…Amanda Root
Dr Alec Harvey…John Duttine
Myrtle Bagott…Stephanie Cole
Albert Godby…Trevor Peacock
Beryl Waters/Lady on Train…Sunny Ormonde
Stanley…Brian Parr
Dolly Messiter…Josephine Tewson
Bill…Richard Curnow
Johnny/Guard…Malcolm McKee
Directed by Sue Wilson
 

Present Laughter
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
Fred…Timothy Bateson
Miss Erikson…Diana Olsson
Roland Maule…David Timson
Produced by Ian Cotterell  

©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd
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Sublime!

Just a fantastic listen and wonderful dialogue that has such a strong nostalgic vibe. If you want to get to know Noel Coward and his best plays then start here.

2 people found this helpful

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A Revelation

It was probably a mistake to listen to all seven productions, one after another. While Noel Coward has a very particular - and mostly enjoyable - playwrighting style this series illustrates his weaknesses and the repetitive nature of many of the plotlines. They reveal a society which is based largely on marital infidelity and deception and to some extent explains a lot about the man himself.

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  • R&K
  • 11-08-2018

Some good plays...

Some good plays, some not. But all, performed by very fine actors. With a healthy dose of the playwright himself after you're done listening to the last play.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Anat Hoffman
  • 18-12-2018

I loved it

Cowardis a charme.The cast was wonderful.couldnt stoplistening.Many great plays and a very good biography at the end

4 people found this helpful

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  • Keith
  • 09-04-2019

They know these are comedies, right?

While it is always possible the cast was being so droll that the humor escaped me, it really felt like they were treating the material with such reverence and acting so seriously that they plum forgot these were comedies.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Catherine A. Miller
  • 26-04-2020

No chapter titles!

I have only just downloaded it and I know they're good stories but it's infuriating that all you get is a list of numbered chapters. To me it's important to know when the end of the story is coming and how far through I am. I have to stress this is massive in my story enjoyment. There is no way to tell which chapters go with which books and I have to say that for the price this is extremely poor. It will enormously detract from my enjoyment. So much for relieving Lockdown boredom, I just feel annoyed. Please Audible, sort this out as it most definitely deters me from future purchases.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Janet
  • 23-09-2019

Too Noisy and very silly.

I only listened to one story and then not all of it. Although I love all of the actors - and they all played their parts very well - the story was so silly and they spoke in such shrill voices that when they all spoke at once it sounded like a gaggle of geese.

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  • Gabriel Jianu
  • 18-01-2019

Personally, I thought it was terrific

As a resource for improving and refining the language one uses on a daily basis, I thought these plays were wonderful. They won't keep you on the edge of your seat, but as far as artistic expression in the English language goes, they are delightful.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 30-05-2020

Brilliant, Brilliant, Brilliant....

This is sublime - as an actor it must be so much fun bringing Noel Coward to life.

Would have loved to have seen Burton and Taylor do Private Lives....

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  • Madeleine
  • 03-05-2020

Excellent plays and high quality recordings

It’s almost impossible to choose a favourite play out of this selection, they are all truly brilliant and funny. The performances are all excellent from start to finish, a slew of greater than great actors performing some superb voice acting. I enjoyed the collection so much I am sad it is over, and the insights into Noel Coward’s life at the end were so interesting, and gave great context to the man himself. Highly recommended!!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-05-2020

some of the best Coward performances

I was lucky enough to see Judi Dench in Hayfever in London..Would like to have had Stephen Fry and Gemma Jones BBC adaptation of Private Lives in this collection; I love Bill Nighy but not for Ellyot.

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  • EmmaL
  • 21-02-2020

Wonderful cast and great plays

The cast really bring the plots to life you feel like your in the room with them.

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  • S. M. A. John
  • 26-12-2019

Noel Coward Play Collection

An excellent compilation of the plays produced by the BBC over the years. From the sublime performances of Paul Schofield & Patricia Routledge in "Present Laughter" to the more recent rendition of "Private Lives" with Helen Bonham-Carter & Bill Nighy. Each production is a technical masterpiece of superb sound quality, giving the audience an insight into recordings made for both radios 3 and 4 over the years. Furthermore, the listener is also presented with fantastic bonus material from Coward's own diaries which represent nuggets of the social and political history of his time.

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  • CB
  • 13-10-2019

Great plays, poor technical production

I struggled to hear this because the sound level was so low.. Every time a lorry went past I had to rewind and catch up. I have never had this before and it doesn`t happen with other books etc.

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  • Laura
  • 04-08-2019

Wonderfully witty and entertaining plays

Loved the plays, especially private lives and blithe spirit. The narration of this collection of plays were very entertaining. I especially enjoyed the narration of Noel’s diaries and reflections from those who knew him best.