Dirk Bogarde

The Forsyte Saga
  • The Forsyte Saga

    • John Galsworthy

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Dirk Bogarde (Read by)

    • Diana Quick (Read by)

    • Amanda Redman (Read by)

    • Michael Williams (Read by)

    • Maurice Denham (Read by)

    • Sophie Thompson (Read by)

    • Alan Howard (Read by)

    • Michael Hordern (Read by)

    An epic BBC radio adaptation of John Galsworthy's complete Forsyte Chronicles, narrated by Dirk Bogarde and with an all-star cast

    'Hallmarked with elegance and craftsmanship' The Evening Standard

    First broadcast in 1990, this monumental adaptation of John Galsworthy's Nobel Prize-winning novel series was a radio event. It was the most expensive drama serial ever produced, featured one of the biggest, most star-studded casts and dominated the Radio 4 schedules for over 5 months, attracting over a million listeners each week.Comprising all nine books in Galsworthy's Forsyte Chronicles, it spans 50 years - from 1886 to 1936 - and tells the irresistible story of an upper-class dynasty torn apart by a terrible feud.

    Wealthy, privileged and successful, the Forsytes seem to have it all. But the disastrous marriage of Irene and Soames Forsyte, and the dire consequences of one night and the next foggy day, are to split the family for generations. As the sins of the father are visited upon the children, the younger Forsytes - from Soames' daughter Fleur to her cousin Dinny Cherrell - find themselves doomed to repeat the mistakes of the past as they experience both the pain and the promise of love. Beset by emotional disasters, domestic dramas and society scandals, can the various members of this sprawling family ever find lasting happiness?

    This sweeping tale of passion, power and money stars a host of outstanding actors, including Dirk Bogarde, Alan Howard, Michael Hordern, Diana Quick, Michael Williams, Maurice Denham, Amanda Redman and Sophie Thompson.

    Cast and credits
    Written by John Galsworthy

    The Forsyte Chronicles
    Galsworthy - Dirk Bogarde
    Old Jolyon - Michael Hordern
    Soames Forsyte - Alan Howard
    Irene - Diana Quick
    Young Jolyon - Michael Williams
    James - Maurice Denham
    Aunt Ann - Fabia Drake
    Aunt Hester - Rachel Kempson
    Aunt Juley - Renee Asherson
    June - Angela Pleasence
    Philip Bosinney - Michael Cochrane
    Swithin - David March
    Roger/Justice Bentham/Sir Luke Sharman/Adrian Cherrell - John Moffatt
    George/Monsieur Profond - Christopher Good
    Nicholas - John Gabriel
    Emily - Maxine Audley
    Winifred - Fiona Walker
    Montague Dartie/Elderson - Donald Gee
    Francie - Susan Sheridan
    Mrs Macander/Mme Lamotte/Smither/American woman - Jo Kendall
    Young Chankery - Charles Simpson
    Waterbuck, QC/Timothy/Mr Settlewhite/Hilary Cherrell - David King
    Annette - Shelley Thompson
    Holly - Elizabeth Mansfield
    Val - Dale Rapley
    Jolly - Paul Downing
    Dreamer/Francis/Francis Wilmot/Hubert Cherrell - Simon Treves
    Polteed/Gradman/Cuthbert Mothergil/Editor/Foskisson/Blore - Brian Miller
    Doctor/Lord Charles Ferrar/Lionel Cherrell/Neil Wintney/Mr Instone - James Greene
    Fleur - Amanda Redman
    Other Cast: Gary Cady, Gary Bond,Tara Dominick, Vincent Brimble, Nicholas Gilbrook, Sue Broomfield, Paul Daneman, Philip Sully, Stephen Garlick, John Bull, Danny Schiller, Belinda Lang, Jack May, Ben Onwukwe, David Bannerman, Ian Lindsay, Stuart McGuigan, Michael Kilgarriff, Catherine Furshpan, Christopher Scott, Garard Green, Mary Allen, Sophie Thompson, Dorothy Tutin, Peter Marinker, Moir Leslie, Danielle Allan, Paul Rattigan, Jack Klaff, Lois Burgess, Miranda Foster, Peter Howell, Aubrey Woods, Jody McDonald, James Warwick, David Yelland, Matthew Solon, Elizabeth Kelly, William Wortley, Henry Power, Leonard Fenton, Jenny Howe and Nigel Carrington

    Dramatised by David Spenser, Shirley Gee and Elspeth Sandys
    Directed by Janet Whitaker, Anthony Cornish and Sue Wilson
    Series producer: Janet Whitaker
    Pianist: Mary Nash

    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 September 1990-2 March 1991

    ©2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Dirk Bogarde was a legendary British actor and writer. Born Derek Jules Gaspard Ulric Niven van den Bogaerde in 1921, he was the son of art editor Ulric van den Bogaerde and actress Margaret Niven. He studied at the Chelsea School of Art, initially intending to follow in his father's footsteps and become an art critic, but dropped out to become an actor. He made his acting debut in 1939, and the same year performed in his first West End play, Cornelius by J. B. Priestley. He joined the Queen's Royal Regiment during World War II, and was deeply affected by the terrible inhumanity of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp. He made a number of sketches and paintings of the war, several of which are now in the Imperial War Museum's collection. After the war, he returned to acting and changed his name to Dirk Bogarde. His performance on stage in the 1947 play Power Without Glory was acclaimed by Noël Coward, and he was signed by the Rank Organisation , making his first credited film debut in Dancing with Crime. His first lead role came the following year, as William Latch in Sin of Esther Waters, but he did not make his breakthrough until 1950, when he was cast as young cop-killer Tom Riley in The Blue Lamp. In 1954, he made his first film with Joseph Losey, a Communist director who had been blacklisted in Hollywood. The Sleeping Tiger was not a great success, but later that year came the film that made him a star - Doctor in the House, in which he played Dr. Simon Sparrow. The role made him into a matinée idol and one of the most popular film stars of the 1950s. He reprised it in Doctor at Sea (1955) and Doctor at Large (1957). In 1958, he performed on stage in Jezebel, which received poor reviews. This, combined with the pressure of public adoration and stage fright, led him to give up acting in the theatre. The Sixties saw a complete change of direction for Bogarde's career. After leaving Rank, he decided to concentrate on arthouse films rather than mainstream ones, and left behind his heartthrob image when he appeared as a homosexual barrister in Victim (1961). The film alienated many of Bogarde's fans, but he was unrepentant, going on to appear in many subsequent 'anti-hero' roles. He won a BAFTA for his starring performance in Joseph Losey's classic 1963 film The Servant (scripted by Harold Pinter) and played the lead in another Losey/Pinter collaboration, Accident (1967), which won the Grand Jury Prize at the Cannes Film Festival. Another great director/actor partnership was formed in 1969 when Bogarde starred in Luchino Visconti's The Damned, and two years later in a career-defining role as Aschenbach in Death in Venice. Bogarde described his performance as 'the peak and end of my career', but he went on to star in several other highly-acclaimed films, including Liliana Cavani's controversial The Night Porter (1974), co-starring Charlotte Rampling; the award-winning Providence (1977); and A Bridge too Far (1977), which won three BAFTAs. His last film role was as a dying father in Daddy Nostalgia (1990), which won him widespread praise. Bogarde's successful writing career started in 1977, when he published his memoirs, A Postillion Struck By Lightning, the first in a series of eight autobiographies. He also wrote six novels, including Voices in the Garden (1981) which was televised in 1983 and two mystery novels, Jericho (1991) and its sequel A Period of Adjustment (1994). He also wrote articles for several newspapers, and reviewed books for the Daily Telegraph. In 1990, the French Government awarded Bogarde the Commandeur de L'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, and the following year he received the London Film Critics Circle Lifetime Award. He was made a Knight Bachelor in 1992. Dirk Bogarde died in 1999, aged 78.

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