Noel Coward

The Noel Coward BBC Radio Drama Collection
  • The Noel Coward BBC Radio Drama Collection

    • Noel Coward

    • Alex Jennings (Read by)

    • Bill Nighy (Read by)

    • Celia Imrie (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Harriet Walter (Read by)

    • Helena Bonham-Carter (Read by)

    • Judi Dench (Read by)

    • Roger Allam (Read by)

    Seven BBC radio full-cast productions of Noël Coward’s classic plays – plus bonus material including a profile of Coward and extracts from his diaries

    Renowned for his wit, style and sophistication, Noël Coward was one of the greatest playwrights of the twentieth century. His plays, set in the glittering world of high society in which he lived, are much admired and have remained in the popular theatre repertoire to this day.

    This collection brings together the very best radio adaptations of Coward’s works, encompassing sparkling comedies of manners Private Lives and Hay Fever, farcical ghost story Blithe Spirit, and daring ménage à trois drama Design for Living. Here, too, is his controversial first hit The Vortex; the poignant Still Life (the inspiration for the film Brief Encounter); and the semi-autobiographical Present Laughter.

    Among the star-studded cast are Helena Bonham-Carter, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Roger Allam, Harriet Walter, Paul Rhys, Stephanie Cole and Paul Scofield.

    Also included is a BBC World Service profile of Noël Coward, comprising interviews, musical extracts and archive clips; and the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From His Diaries’, featuring a selection of passages from Coward’s journal read by Simon Cadell.

Noël Coward was born in 1899, and was a professional actor by the age of ten. In 1920, he starred in his own play, I'll Leave it to You. His first major hit was The Vortex (1924) and his success continued throughout the Twenties and Thirties with plays including Hay Fever (1926), Private Lives (1930) and Design for Living (1932). During the Second World War, he wrote the patriotic screenplayIn Which We Serve (1942), for which he won an Oscar; as well as scripting the classic film Brief Encounter (1944) and entertaining the nation with the black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941). After the war, Coward added a new string to his bow as a cabaret singer, as well as continuing to write musicals and plays. In all, Coward wrote 40 plays, 300 songs and numerous poems, short stories and films. He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in 1973.

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