John Milton

Paradise Lost
  • Paradise Lost

  • John Milton

    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 was born on 9 December 1608. He studied at St Paul's School and then at Christ's College, Cambridge. He wrote poetry in Latin and Italian as well as English and travelled in Italy between 1638 and 1639. He married Mary Powell in 1642 but their relationship quickly broke down and they lived apart until 1645. They had four children, three daughters and a son who died in infancy. During the Interregnum after the execution of Charles I, Milton worked for the civil service and wrote pamphlets in support of the new republic. He also began work on his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, as early as 1642. His first wife died in 1652 and he married again in 1656, although his second wife died not long afterwards in 1658. When the monarchy was restored in 1660 Milton was arrested but was released with a fine. In 1663 he married his third wife, Elizabeth Minshull and he is also thought to have finished Paradise Lost in this same year. He published the companion poem, Paradise Regained, in 1671.John Milton died on 8 November 1674.