John Milton

Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Lost

    • John Milton

    • Ashley Margolis (Read by)

    • Conrad Nelson (Read by)

    • David Seddon (Read by)

    • Emily Pithon (Read by)

    • Frances Barber (Read by)

    • Ian McKellen (Read by)

    • Jonathan Keeble (Read by)

    • Russell Dixon (Read by)

    • Simon Russell Beale (Read by)

    Sir Ian McKellen stars as Milton in this dramatised retelling of John Milton’s epic poem about the fall of Man

    "devilishly good... I urge you to give it a listen" The Telegraph

    Milton’s biblical masterpiece, first published in 1667, is one of English literature’s most seminal works. Straddling three worlds – Heaven, Hell and Earth – it tells the gripping story of fallen angel Satan’s rebellion against God, his temptation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

    Written to ‘justify the ways of God to men’, it aimed to show what caused Mankind's fall and the consequences for the world, both bad and good. By reaching back to the beginning of time, Milton hoped to discover the events that had led to the political and societal upheaval of his own era – as well as using allegory to ask powerful questions about authority, government, tyranny and disobedience. In this brand new dramatisation, Milton himself (Sir Ian McKellen) is the blind narrator grieving the loss of his wife, played by Frances Barber.

    Also starring Simon Russell Beale as Satan, and adapted by award-winning poet and broadcaster Michael Symmons Roberts, this enthralling drama is a vital piece of storytelling with striking parallels to contemporary events.

    Cast and credits

    Milton……………………Sir Ian McKellen
    Elizabeth……………………Frances Barber
    Satan……………………Simon Russell Beale
    Beelzebub……………………Jonathan Keeble
    Adam……………………Ashley Margolis
    Eve……………………Emily Pithon
    Christ……………………David Seddon
    Raphael……………………Conrad Nelson
    God……………………Russell Dixon
    All other parts were played by members of the company

    Written by John Milton
    Dramatised by Michael Symmons Roberts
    Produced and directed by Susan Roberts

John Milton (1608-74) was born in London, and was educated at St Paul's School and subsequently at Christ's College, Cambridge. Thereafter he spent some years in private study, visiting France and Italy in the late 1630s. Upon his return to a nation now in political crisis, he devoted himself to teaching and to the publication of a series of increasingly radical pamphlets on religious and political liberty, including defences of divorce, a free press, and the right of a people to depose and execute a tyrannical king. He became completely blind in 1652. After the Restoration he was politically muzzled, but in this period he published his mature poetic masterpieces, including Paradise Lost (1667). Today, Milton is best known as a poet; in his own time, it was for his polemical prose that he was both celebrated and reviled. Dr William Poole is a tutorial fellow at New College, Oxford. He has published widely in the areas of early-modern literary, intellectual and scientific history.


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