The Dylan Thomas BBC Radio Collection
Matthew Rhys introduces this collection of plays, poems and prose by the great Welsh writer, featuring Dylan Thomas reading his own work plus bonus biographical plays based on his life
Dylan Thomas was the 20th Century's first rock star author, famed for his dazzling imaginative poetry and chaotic personal life. Best known for Under Milk Wood, he also wrote numerous poems, short stories and screenplays, and made regular BBC broadcasts. A legend in his own lifetime, he remained hugely popular after his death at the age of 39, influencing cultural icons from Bob Dylan to The Beatles.
This definitive collection is presented by Welsh actor Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Perry Mason), who played Dylan Thomas in the 2008 film The Edge of Love.
It begins with sunny, summery recollections in ‘Holiday Memory’, which sees Dylan Thomas recalling an evocative August Bank Holiday, followed by A Child's Christmas in Wales, dramatised with a full cast including Philip Madoc and Freddie Jones. Two Thomas masterpieces follow: ‘Quite Early One Morning’, in which Dylan Thomas reads the story that later became Under Milk Wood, and then Under Milk Wood itself, a masterpiece and a lyrical 'play for voices' focusing on one day in the life of a Welsh fishing village and starring Richard Burton as the Narrator.
Next, Dylan Thomas’s unfilmed screenplay The Beach of Falesá, adapted from a Robert Louis Stevenson short story. Narrated by Matthew Rhys and starring Matthew Gravelle and Nicky Henson, it tells the thrilling tale of the clash between good and evil on an unnamed Pacific Island. A less sinister seaside trip is recalled in ‘The Outing’, Thomas's story of a childhood excursion read by Matthew Rhys and interspersed with memories from Swansea residents and music from the 1920s and '30s.
We hear from Thomas in his own words in ‘A Return Journey to Swansea’, followed by four readings of his short stories narrated by Siân Philips, Geraint Morgan, Iestyn Jones and William Thomas. Rebecca's Daughters, a romantic adventure set in 19th Century Wales, stars Patrick Mower.
Dylan Thomas tells of a rollercoaster experience of a lecture tour across the US in ‘A Visit to America’, and in The Voice of Dylan Thomas, introduced by Douglas Cleverdon, we hear him reading a choice selection of his works.
Our final programmes are three original plays based on moments in Dylan Thomas’s life: Badgers in My Vest by John Fletcher, Investigating Mr Thomas by Rob Gittins and Chelsea Dreaming by D J Britton. We join Thomas in a Newquay pub during World War II, follow private detective Jimmy as he tries to dig the dirt on Thomas, and see the poet through the eyes of the Chelsea Hotel.
A Child's Christmas in Wales
Quite Early One Morning
Under Milk Wood
The Beach of Falesá
A Return Journey to Swansea
Patricia, Edith and Arnold
A Visit to Grandpa’s
Extraordinary Little Cough
A Visit to America
The Voice of Dylan Thomas
Badgers in My Vest
Investigating Mr Thomas
Text copyright © the estate of Dylan Thomas, 1940 (Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dog), 1944 ('Quite Early One Morning'), 1945 ('A Child's Christmas in Wales'), 1946 ('Holiday Memory'), 1948 ('Rebecca's Daughters'), 1953 ('The Outing'), 1954 (Under Milk Wood), 1963 (The Beach of Falesá)
Badgers in My Vest copyright © John Fletcher 2003
Investigating Mr Thomas copyright © Rob Gittens 2008
Chelsea Dreaming copyright © D J Britton 2003
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