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Dramatisations and readings of Sheridan Le Fanu's best-known Gothic masterpieces.
One of the leading ghost story writers of the Victorian era, Sheridan Le Fanu is renowned for his chilling tales of mystery and horror. His pioneering lesbian vampire novella Carmilla was a major influence on Bram Stoker's Dracula, and spawned numerous film adaptations including Hammer Horror's Karnstein Trilogy.
Opening this anthology is a dramatisation of that classic tale, starring Anne-Marie Duff as Laura, the lonely girl living in a solitary Austrian castle, who strikes up a dangerous friendship with the mysterious, bewitching Carmilla. It is followed by Ian MacDiarmid's reading of 'Schalken the Painter', the eerie story of a 17th Century Flemish artist in love with his master's daughter.
Le Fanu's suspenseful Gothic thriller, Uncle Silas, about a young heiress placed under the guardianship of her father's disgraced brother, is dramatised with a full cast including Teresa Gallagher, George Cole, Joan Sims and Dorothy Tutin. Also featured is The Le Fanu Ballads, a supernatural portmanteau drama bridging Le Fanu's era and our world today. Based on the short stories 'The Watcher', 'Madam Crowl's Ghost', 'Schalken the Painter' and 'Mr Justice Harbottle', and set in a basement nightclub in Dublin, it stars Paul Chahidi, Haydn Gwynne and Jonathan Forbes.
One more unabridged reading concludes our collection. In 'The Ghost and the Bonesetter', read by Sean Barrett, a terrified house-sitter receives an unusual request from the tyrannical spirit of a local squire.
Cast and credits:
Written by Sheridan Le Fanu
First published 1838 ('The Ghost and the Bonesetter'), 1839 ('Schalken the Painter'), 1847 ('The Watcher'), 1864 (Uncle Silas), 1871 ('Madam Crowl's Ghost'), 1872 (Carmilla, 'Mr Justice Harbottle')
Cast: Anne-Marie Duff, Brana Bajic, David Warner, Celia Imrie, Jacqueline Pearce, Nigel Anthony, Roger May, Kenneth Cranham
Dramatised by Don McCamphill. Produced by Lawrence Jackson
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 5 June 2003
Schalken the Painter
Read by Ian McDiarmid. Produced by Lawrence Jackson
First broadcast BBC Radio 7, 29-30 May 2006
Cast: Teresa Gallagher, Graham Crowden, Dorothy Tutin, Joan Sims, Kathleen Byron, Tessa Worsley, John Hartley, Jonathan Keeble, Roger May, Geoffrey Whitehead, Stephen Critchlow, George Cole, Jane Whittenshaw, George A Cooper, Becky Hindley, Pauline Letts, David Collings, John Evitts, Linda Regan, Joan Littlewood
Dramatised by Alan Drury. Directed by Enyd Williams
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8-22 October 1995
The Le Fanu Ballads
Cast: Paul Chahidi, Haydn Gwynne, Jonathan Forbes, Ruth Everett, Matthew Durkan, Alexandra Hannant, Rebecca Crankshaw, Chris Jack, Michael Begley, Neil McCaul.
Sheridan Le Fanu's ghost stories adapted by Neil Brand
Directed by Tracey Neale.
Music composed and played by Neil Brand, with 'Nuala's Ballad' sung by Ruth Everett
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 17 April 2022
The Ghost and the Bonesetter
Read by Sean Barrett. Produced by Gemma Jenkins
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 September 2001