Ian Serraillier

The Silver Sword
  • The Silver Sword

    • Ian Serraillier

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Hester Cox (Read by)

    • Sarah McDonald Hughes (Read by)

    • Stephen Hoyle (Read by)

    A BBC radio full-cast dramatisation of Ian Serraillier’s classic wartime story.

    When the Germans march into Poland in 1941, the Balickis’ happy family life is shattered. With their parents taken away by Nazis, Ruth, Edek and Bronia are forced to fend for themselves in the dangerous, war-ravaged city of Warsaw.

    When Edek is captured too, the girls are desperate. Then they meet orphaned street urchin Jan, who carries with him a talisman of hope: a silver sword paperknife that they recognise as having belonged to their mother.

    Realising that their parents may still be alive, Ruth and Bronia set off on an epic journey to Switzerland to search for them. With Jan by their side, they are determined to reunite the family – and their first step is to find Edek. But the road ahead is full of danger and hardship, and they will facemany challenges along the way...

    This moving story of friendship, courage and solidarity brings to life the reality of a Europe laid waste by war.

    Ruth - Sarah McDonald Hughes
    Edek - Stephen Hoyle
    Bronia - Hester Cox
    Jan - Aqib Khan
    Margaret/Irka/Mrs Wolff - Maggie Fox
    Joseph/German 1/Mr Wolff - Malcolm Raeburn
    Ivan - David Fleeshman
    Soldier/American GI - Andrew Blake
    Doctor - Lloyd Peters
    Cook/Mrs Borowicz - Szilvi Naray Davey
    The Burgomaster/Captain Malinowski - Jonathan Keeble

    Adapted by Chris Wallis.
    Produced and directed by Charlotte Riches.

Ian Serraillier was born in London in 1912, the eldest of four children. When he was only six years old, Ian's father died, and as his mother was often not very well, he looked after his younger siblings, especially during their long summer holidays in Switzerland. After university, he became a teacher and a writer. When the Second World War broke out, Ian refused to fight, because he believed it is wrong to kill another person. Many people who believed this were sent to prison, but fortunately Ian was allowed to continue to teach. After the war, the newspapers were full of picture of the ruined cities of Europe, and the children who had been orphaned or made homeless by the war. Ian was determined to tell their story. Ruth, Edek, Jan and Bronia are all based on real children, and even the silver sword paper knife was real. Ian Serraillier wrote many children's books but The Silver Sword is his most famous and most beloved, and it has never been out of print.