Dorothy L. Sayers

The Man Born To Be King
  • The Man Born To Be King

    • Dorothy L. Sayers

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Gabriel Woolf (Read by)

    • John Westbrook (Read by)

    • Norman Shelley (Read by)

    • Mary Wimbush (Read by)

    • Miriam Margolyes (Read by)

    • John Laurie (Read by)

    Dorothy L. Sayers' classic play cycle based on the life and times of Jesus

    Dorothy L. Sayers was best known for her mystery novels featuring aristocratic amateur sleuth Lord Peter Wimsey. But she was also a poet, playwright and committed Christian, and in The Man Born to Be King she combined art and evangelism to powerful effect, making the story of Christ accessible, relevant and every bit as thrilling as her detective fiction.

    Written specially for the BBC Radio, the play cycle caused huge controversy for its depiction of Christ as a character, and its use of contemporary speech instead of Biblical language. However it proved extremely popular with listeners, who wrote in to thank Sayers for making Jesus real to them and reigniting their interest in his remarkable story.

    Based on the four Gospels, it includes one story of the Nativity, six plays about Jesus' life and ministry, and five Passion Plays telling of Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem, the Last Supper, Jesus' arrest and trial before Pontius Pilate, the Crucifixion and the Resurrection. Backed up with a sweeping musical score, these immersive dramas surprise and shock us anew and provide fresh, illuminating insight into 'the greatest story ever told'.

    The plays included are Kings in Judea, The King's Herald, A Certain Nobleman, The Heirs to the Kingdom, The Bread of Heaven, The Feast of Tabernacles, The Light and The Life, Royal Progress, The King's Supper, The Princes of This World, King of Sorrows and The King Comes to His Own.

    Cast and credits
    Written by Dorothy L Sayers
    Adapted by/Producer: Raymond Raikes
    The Evangelist (John Bar-Zebedee): Gabriel Woolf
    Jesus: John Westbrook
    Joseph/ Jacob Ben-Issachar: Norman Shelley
    Simon Bar-Jonah (Simon Peter): Stephen Jack
    Judas Iscariot: Alan Wheatley
    Matthew: Nigel Stock
    Herod The Great: Robert Eddison
    Nicodemus: John Wyse
    Ephraim: Denys Blakelock
    Shadrach: Malcolm Hayes
    Rabbit Solomon: John Gabriel
    Phoebe: Caroline Monkhouse
    Flavius: Trader Faulkner
    Calpurnia: Penelope Lee
    Mary Virgin: June Tobin
    Mary Magdalen: Mary Wimbush
    Martha: Marjorie Westbury
    Lazarus: Richard Hurndall
    Benjamin Ben-Hadad: Ralph Truman
    Joseph, kinsman to Jesus: Haydn Jones
    Simeon, kinsman to Jesus: Wilfrid Carter
    Baruch the Zealot: Francis de Wolff
    Baruch's Wife: Vivienne Chatterton
    Gestas: John Laurie
    Dysmas: Russell Napier
    Simon of Cyrene: Rodney Dias
    Proclus, a Roman Centurion: Trevor Martin
    Roman soldier: Bruce Beeby
    Roman soldier: Harvey Hall
    Joseph of Arimathea: Howieson Culff
    Calaphas, High Priest of Israel: Heron Carvic
    Salome, mother to James and John: Henzie Raeburn
    Mary Cleophas: Molly Rankin
    Balthazar, King of Ethiopia: Paul Danqdah
    Melchior/ A Zealot: Michael Kilgarriff
    Casper: James Dale
    Philip: Rolf Lefebvre
    Thomas Didymus/ Father: Philip Leaver
    Mother: Wynne Clark
    Miriam, child: Elizabeth Proud
    Isaac, child/a slave boy: Daniel Rose
    Hannah: Hester Paton-Brown
    James Bar-Zebedee: John Glen
    Andrew Bar-Jonah: John Boxer
    Hezekiah, secretary/ Roman Soldier: John Baker
    Annas, father-in-law to Caiaphas: Edward Atienza
    Pontius Pilate, Governor of Judaea: Alec Clunes
    Claudia Procula: Mary Law
    Captain Elihu: Keith Alexander
    Eunice, a Syro-Phoenician: Elizabeth Morgan
    Cleophas: Harry Hutchinson
    Portress at the High Priest's House: Miriam Margolyes
    Zillah, her daughter: Jo Manning-Wilson
    Issacher, servant: Hugh Dickson
    Susannah, mother to the Bride groom: Betty Baskcomb
    Rebecca, friend to Susannah: Gladys Spencer/ Janet Burnell
    Other cast: Ian Frost, Janette Richer, Nan Marriott-Watson, Janette Richer, Peter Marinker, Raf de la Torre, James Thomason, John Forrest, Michael Goldie
    First broadcast BBC Home Service 19th, 26th Jan, 2nd, 9th , 16th, 23rd Feb, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd, 28th, 30th March 1975
    ©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Dorothy L. Sayers was born in Oxford in 1893. She published her first detective novel, Whose Body?, in 1923, introducing Lord Peter Wimsey to the world. Ten more 'Wimsey' novels and four collections of short stories followed, as well as many other works of crime fiction, non-fiction and plays. Her translation of Dante's Divine Comedy is highly acclaimed, as is her cycle of twelve plays on the life of Jesus, The Man Born to be King, which was broadcast on the BBC Home Service in 1941-1942. She died in 1957, leaving behind notes and fragments of an unfinished 'Wimsey' story - Thrones, Dominations - which was subsequently completed by Jill Paton Walsh and published in 1998. Paton Walsh has since written three other Lord Peter Wimsey books.

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