Primo Levi

Primo Levi's The Periodic Table
  • Primo Levi's The Periodic Table

    • Primo Levi

    • Graham White

    • Ben Crowe (Read by)

    • Akbar Kurtha (Read by)

    • Henry Goodman (Read by)

    • Paul Copley (Read by)

    • Full Cast (Read by)

    • Evie Killip (Read by)

    • Janet Suzman (Read by)

    Scientist, resistance fighter and Holocaust survivor, Primo Levi was one of Italy's greatest writers and an internationally renowned chronicler of human nature. In his masterpiece The Periodic Table, he charts his incredible life story through the medium of chemistry, using the titular list of elements - the building blocks of everything - as a prism to explore his experiences and search his soul.

    In this superlative BBC adaptation, all 21 of the peerless stories in Levi's memoir are incorporated into 11 radio episodes, comprising both compelling dramatisations (starring Henry Goodman as the older Primo and Akbar Kurtha as his younger self) and eloquent readings by Paul Copley, Ben Crowe, Evie Killip and Henry Goodman. The chapters are preceded by a short introductory feature by Janet Suzman, discussing Levi's life and writing and featuring archive interviews with Levi himself.

    We hear of Levi's student days in Fascist Italy, his battles as a partisan, his imprisonment in Auschwitz, his subsequent career as a professional chemist, and his imagined meeting with his Piedmontese ancestors - as well as his job in a paint factory in the 1960s and an unsettling encounter with his past. Alongside these autobiographical meditations are fabulous fictional tales of a European prospector, a little girl enchanted by white paint, an 1820s captain living on a remote island with strange chemical properties, and the incredible, centuries-long journey of a single carbon atom...

    Named 'the best science book ever' by the Royal Institution of Great Britain, this astonishing compilation fuses autobiography and fantasy, science and emotion, to extraordinary effect. Vivid, powerful and breathtaking, it will surprise, amuse and move you, lingering in your imagination and changing the way you look at the world.

    Written by Primo Levi
    Dramatised by Graham White from the translation by Raymond Rosenthal
    Introduced by Janet Suzman
    Produced and directed by Emma Harding and Marc Beeby

    Vanadium, Part 1
    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Cometto - John Rowe
    Dr Muller - Erich Redman
    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Lucia - Juliet Aubrey
    Polish overseer - Chris Pavlo

    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Cesare - John Rowe
    Jacob - David Horovitch
    Moses - David Hounslow
    Samuel - Sam Dale
    Abigail - Jessica Turner
    Zepora - Debra Baker

    Read by Ben Crowe

    Read by Evie Killip

    Read by Paul Copley

    Abrahams - Paul Hilton
    Maggie - Amelia Lowdell
    Hendrik - Nicholas Murchie
    Willem - Leo Wan
    Andrea - Chris Pavlo
    Gaetano - George Watkins
    Burton - Richard Pepple
    Rebecca - Debra Baker
    Woman - Katie Redford

    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Enrico/Marchetti - Caolan McCarthy
    Rina - Debra Baker
    Lazzari - Sam Dale
    Luca - Leo Wan
    Giulia - Rebecca Hamilton
    Caselli - Stephen Critchlow
    Bettega - George Watkins
    Rita - Katie Redford
    Sandro - Andrew Rothney
    Dallaporta - Richard Pepple
    Antaeus - David Hounslow
    Alida - Amelia Lowdell

    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Vanda - Rebecca Hamilton
    Silvio - Leo Wan
    Lina - Evie Killip
    Aldo - George Watkins
    Militiaman 1/Prisoner - David Hounslow
    Militiaman 2 - Caolan McCarthy
    Fossa - Stephen Critchlow
    Cagni - Nicholas Murchie

    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Alberto - Leo Wan
    Guard - Erich Redman
    Prisoner 1- David Hounslow
    Prisoner 2 - Sam Dale

    Arsenic and Silver
    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Versino - Jessica Turner
    Lentini - Nicholas Murchie
    Bruni - David Horovitch
    Cometto - John Rowe
    Lucia - Juliet Aubrey
    Gallery director/Emilio's father - Stephen Critchlow
    Emilio - Caolan McCarthy
    Farmer - David Hounslow
    Customer - Ben Crowe
    Bonino - Sam Dale
    Gina - Rebecca Hamilton

    Vanadium, Part 2
    Older Primo - Henry Goodman
    Younger Primo - Akbar Kurtha
    Cometto - John Rowe
    Dr Muller - Erich Redman
    Lucia - Juliet Aubrey
    Polish overseer - Chris Pavlo
    Postwoman - Debra Baker

    Read by Henry Goodman

Primo Levi, born in Turin, Italy, in 1919, and trained as a chemist, was arrested during the Second World War as a member of the anti-Fascist resistance and deported to Auschwitz in 1944. His experience in the death camp and his subsequent travels through Eastern Europe were the subject of powerful memoirs, fiction and poetry. Levi died in Turin in April 1987.

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