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Blood, Sex and Money
Glenda Jackson stars in this award-winning BBC Radio series, inspired by literature's greatest ever whistleblower, Émile Zola, and his epic saga of the Rougon-Macquart family.
First published between 1870 and 1893, Émile Zola’s 20-book cycle chronicling four generations of the Rougon-Macquarts was a shocking exposé of the decadence, degradation and moral decay of 19th-century France. It included some of his greatest novels, among them his masterpiece, Germinal.
These innovative, ambitious dramas, first broadcast on Radio 4 over 24 hours in 2015-16, are a radical reimagining of Zola’s classic series, introducing us to 104-year-old matriarch, Dide, imprisoned in an asylum in southern France. Trapped, but omniscient, she broods over her ‘family of wolves’. As a young woman, she gave birth to two dynasties that exemplified French society. One legitimate – rich, powerful, obsessive and corrupt. The other illegitimate – poor, vulnerable, weak and depraved.
In these three seasons, themed around blood, sex and money, we come to know the members of her extended family intimately – the good, the bad and the misguided. As we follow their highs and lows, we are taken deep into the heart of France’s ‘Second Empire’ and drawn into the tragic, farcical reign of Napoleon III as it marches forward towards a modern, industrialised society.
This groundbreaking series won Best Drama at the BBC Radio and Music Awards 2016 and Best Adaptation at the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2017, and boasts a star cast including Robert Lindsay, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Holliday Grainger, Samuel West, Anna Maxwell Martin, Paul McGann, Georgina Campbell, Jack Lowden and Alison Steadman.
Also included is a 30-minute bonus programme, The Life and Work of Émile Zola, in which Glenda Jackson travels to Paris to discover how Zola’s experience and the physical and cultural landscape in which he lived influenced his great novels.
"Unmissable." (Daily Telegraph)