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    A definitive, fully dramatised collection of the best-known works of Thomas Hardy

    Renowned novelist and poet Thomas Hardy is best known for his fatalistic, often tragic novels set in the 'realistic dream-country' of Wessex, in south and south-west England. Drawing on his own life, he created some of the most memorable characters and stories in Victorian literature—many of which are included here.

    In five dramas taken from Radio 4's 'Hardy's Women' season, we meet a few of Thomas Hardy's most compelling female protagonists. The Hand of Ethelberta centres around an infamous poet who's not the lady everyone thinks she is; while Two on a Tower is the star-crossed love story of Lady Viviette Constantine and handsome young astronomer Swithin St Cleeve. The Woodlanders tells Hardy's tale of ambition, money and missed chances from the perspective of its unsung heroine, Marty South; unhappy Tess D'Urbeyfield recounts her life story in Tess of the D'Urbervilles; and in Jude the Obscure, Sue Bridehead relates the tale of stonemason Jude and his dreams of being a scholar. Among the stars of these irresistible adaptations are Rebecca Humphries, Olivia Poulet, Callum Scott Howells, Katy Sobey, Sacha Dhawan, Faye Marsay, Kirsty Oswald and Robert Emms.

    Also featured are dramatisations of three of Hardy's other masterpieces. Far From the Madding Crowd sees the beautiful, independent Bathsheba Everdene (Alex Tregear) pursued by three suitors: Gabriel Oak (Shaun Dooley), William Boldwood (Toby Jones) and Sergeant Troy (Patrick Kennedy). In The Return of the Native, Hardy's poignant tale of love and longing is brought to life by an ensemble cast including David Calder, Emma Fielding and Adam Godley. And in The Mayor of Casterbridge, starring John Lynch and Ruth Wilson, a man spends his life trying to atone for his terrible past—but however hard he tries to conceal it, it will not be buried.

    Next we have a trio of classic short stories—'The Withered Arm', 'The Melancholy Hussar' and 'The Fiddler of the Reels', starring Victoria Hamilton, Susan Jameson, Moir Leslie, Janet Dale, Stephen Tomlin and Struan Rodger.

    Rounding off our collection is a serialised Book of the Week reading of Claire Tomalin's acclaimed biography, Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man, narrated by Haydn Gwynne.

    Far From the Madding Crowd
    The Hand of Ethelberta
    The Return of the Native
    Two on a Tower
    The Mayor of Casterbridge
    The Woodlanders
    Tess of the D'Urbervilles
    Jude the Obscure
    'The Withered Arm'
    'The Melancholy Hussar'
    'The Fiddler of the Reels'
    Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man

    First published 1874 (Far From the Madding Crowd), 1876 (The Hand of Ethelberta), 1878 (The Return of the Native), 1882 (Two on a Tower), 1886 (The Mayor of Casterbridge), 1887 (The Woodlanders), 1888 ('The Withered Arm'), 1890 ('The Melancholy Hussar'), 1891-2 (Tess of the D'Urbervilles), 1893 ('The Fiddler of the Reels'), 1895 (Jude the Obscure)

    Thomas Hardy: The Time-Torn Man copyright © Claire Tomalin 2006

    ©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

    Ce que les auditeurs disent de The Thomas Hardy BBC Radio Drama Collection

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