Edna O'Brien

The Country Girls

The Country Girls

A BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of the landmark trilogy


All three BBC radio dramatisations of Edna O’Brien’s coming-of-age trilogy set in 1950s Ireland

Now a much-loved modern classic, The Country Girls Trilogy was fiercely controversial when first published in the 1960s. Banned by the Irish censors and burned by the Church, the books nonetheless achieved widespread acclaim and international success, and launched Edna O’Brien’s literary career.

These three BBC radio adaptations follow the lives and loves of best friends Kate and Baba, two teenage girls growing up in repressive rural Ireland in the years before the sexual revolution. The Country Girls sees the duo leaving their small country village for convent school – but the bright lights of Dublin beckon, promising glamour, adventure and romance. In The Lonely Girl, dreamy Kate longs for love, while worldly-wise Baba makes the most of the opportunities the big city offers. Girls in Their Married Bliss finds the two friends living across the sea in London, where both have found husbands – but will marriage and motherhood bring happiness or heartbreak?

Funny, moving and painfully honest, these evocative dramas are a passionate affirmation of female friendship and desire, and a vivid portrait of a country struggling to throw off the shackles of prudishness, misogyny and religious conservatism. Charlie Murphy (Peaky Blinders, Happy Valley) stars as Kate, with Aoibhinn McGinnity (Resistance, Nightflyers) as Baba.

Edna O'Brien is the much acclaimed author of The Country Girls Trilogy. She recently won the David Cohen Prize for Literature for having “broken down social and sexual barriers for women in Ireland and beyond and moved mountains both politically and lyrically through her writing”.

Written by Edna O’Brien
Dramatised by Lin Coghlan
Produced and directed by Sally Avens and Jessica Dromgoole

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 August-6 September 2019 (The Country Girls), 14-25 October 2019 (The Lonely Girl), 9-13 December 2019 (Girls in Their Married Bliss)