Laurence Sterne

Tristram Shandy
  • Tristram Shandy

    • Laurence Sterne

    • Adrian Scarborough (Read by)

    • David Troughton (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Julia Ford (Read by)

    • Neil Dudgeon (Read by)

    • Paul Ritter (Read by)

    A full-cast dramatisation of this comic tale about an eighteenth-century gentleman who tries to tell his life story, but continually finds that he must digress...

    Featuring some of the best-known and well-loved characters in English literature, including Uncle Toby, Corporal Trim, Dr Slop and the Widow Wadman. Beginning (or attempting to begin) at the moment of his own conception, Tristram Shandy recounts his progress through the world and utterly fails to stick to the point.

    Sterne's comic masterpiece is an extravagantly inventive work which was hugely popular when first published in 1759, and is now considered a landmark in the history of the novel. Its often bawdy humour and numerous digressions are combined with bold literary experiments, and 260 years after its publication it remains one of the most influential and widely-admired books of the 18th century. A joyful celebration of the endless possibilities of the art of fiction, Tristram Shandy is also a wry demonstration of its limitations.

    Also included in this release is a bonus programme - In Our Time: Tristram Shandy - in which Melvyn Bragg discusses the comic masterpiece with Professor Judith Hawley (University of London), Professor John Mullan (UCL) and Dr Mary Newbould (University of Cambridge).

    Tristram...Neil Dudgeon
    Mother...Julia Ford
    Father...David Troughton
    Uncle Toby...Adrian Scarborough
    Corporal Trim...Paul Ritter
    Dr Slop...Tony Rohr
    Obadiah...Stephen Hogan
    Susannah...Helen Longworth
    Great-Grandmother/Bridget...Ndidi Del Fatti
    Great-Grandfather/Pontificating Man/Death...Stuart Mcloughlin
    Bishop Hall/Le Fever...Hugh Dickson
    Widow Wadman...Deborah Findlay

    Dramatised by Graham White
    Directed and produced by Mary Peate
    A BBC Studios production

Laurence Sterne was born in 1713, the younger son of a landowning Yorkshire family. He studied at Jesus College, Cambridge and was ordained in 1738. Sterne's dramas were mostly personal, including bitter quarrels with his wife and uncle, and some high profile affairs. The publication of the first volumes of The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy in 1759 made him famous throughout Europe overnight. He went on to complete the remaining volumes over the next seven years. Sterne died in 1768 of tuberculosis, the condition that had dogged him for many years.