Leo Tolstoy

War and Peace
  • War and Peace

  • Leo Tolstoy

    Paterson Joseph, John Hurt, Lesley Manville and Harriet Walter are among the stellar cast of this landmark BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Leo Tolstoy’s epic saga.

    ‘Tolstoy’s imagined world is recreated on air brilliantly by the extraordinary cast’ The Spectator

    One of the greatest novels of all time, War and Peace explores historical, social, ethical and religious issues on a scale never before attempted in fiction, and reflects the panorama of life at every level of Russian society during the 19th Century.

    Adapted for radio by Timberlake Wertenbaker, this riveting, wide-ranging drama follows the fortunes of four Russian aristocratic families during the Napoleonic War. Told in flashback over ten episodes, it moves from fashionable society soirées in St Petersburg and Moscow to the battlefields of Austerlitz and Borodino, as protagonists Pierre, Natasha, Marya and Nikolai describe to their children the events that shaped their lives and those of every Russian who lived through this turbulent time.

    First broadcast on New Year's Day 2015, this dynamic full-cast dramatisation features specially composed music by Stephen Warbeck. It stars Paterson Joseph as Pierre, Phoebe Fox as Natasha, Natasha Little as Marya and Sam Reid as Nikolai, part of a stunning cast including Alun Armstrong, Simon Russell Beale and Roger Allam.

    Duration: 10 hours approx.

Leo Tolstoy was born in 1828 in the Tula province. He studied at the University of Kazan, then led a life of pleasure until 1851 when he joined an artillery regiment in the Caucasus. He established his reputation as a writer with The Sebastopol Sketches (1855-6). After a period in St Petersburg and abroad, he married, had thirteen children, managed his vast estates in the Volga Steppes and wrote War and Peace (1869) and Anna Karenina (1877). A Confession (1879-82) marked a spiritual crisis in his life, and in 1901 he was excommuincated by the Russian Holy Synod. He died in 1910, in the course of a dramatic flight from home, at the railway station of Astapovo.