William Wycherley

The Country Wife
  • The Country Wife

  • Considered too obscene to be staged in its original form for nearly 200 years, William Wycherley’s bawdy comedy tells the tale of Mr Horner - a notorious rake who spreads the false rumour that he is impotent in order to gain free access to other men’s wives. When he meets the young, innocent Margery Pinchwife, the ‘country wife’ of the title, the scene is set for scandal... This sparkling 1985 BBC Radio production stars Maggie Smith as Margery Pinchwife, with an all-star cast including Jonathan Pryce, John Duttine, John Moffatt, Harriet Walter and Michael Aldridge. '... a delight for its sparking wit and the window it offers into Restoration manners and morals' - Times.

William Wycherley was a Restoration playwright, best known for his comedies The Country Wife (1672-3) and The Plain Dealer (1675). Wycherley moved in high society, and conducted several liaisons with aristocratic ladies, including the Duchess of Cleveland - one of Charles II's mistresses. A one-time favourite of the King, he lost the King's regard after entering into a secret marriage with the Countess of Drogheda. After her death, a dispute over her will led to Wycherley being thrown into debtor's prison, but he was liberated with the assistance of James II. On his deathbed, Wycherley married a 16-year-old girl in order to prevent his nephew from getting his inheritance. He died in 1715, aged 75.

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