E.F.Benson

The Archers: The Ambridge Players
  • The Archers: The Ambridge Players

  • Classic plays and ghost stories, as performed by the residents of Ambridge and friends - plus bonus drama Dead Girls Tell No Tales

    Borsetshire's queen of amateur theatricals, Lynda Snell, never misses the chance to put on a Christmas show. Her productions are always a big hit with Ambridge audiences - and now, Archers fans can enjoy these top-notch performances alongside them (as well as eavesdropping on the shenanigans backstage).

    In Blithe Spirit, the Ambridge Am-Dram Society and guest star Julian Rhind-Tutt recreate Noël Coward's ghostly masterpiece, and Lynda finds herself in sympathy with eccentric medium Madame Arcati as she attempts to conjure some festive high spirits. Calendar Girls sees the group taking on Tim Firth's comedy of jam and Jerusalem, along with honorary resident Siân Phillips (who starred in the original West End show). Will the intrepid cast really bare all? And in the 2-parter The Canterbury Tales, the company present barnstorming adaptations of Chaucer's classic stories of courtly love, deadly rivalry and boisterous sex - with a little bit of magic thrown in.

    In Ambridge Ghost Stories, it's a cold December night, in the darkened attic of Lower Loxley. Then Jim Llloyd (John Rowe) takes to the stage to recount three spine-chilling supernatural tales from the turn of the last century - 'The Room in the Tower' by E. F. Benson, 'Lost Hearts' by M. R. James and 'The Monkey's Paw' by W. W. Jacobs. Prepare to be enthralled - and terrified...

    Also included are two special seasonal pageants, The Ambridge Mystery Plays- The Nativity and The Passion and a stunning original drama by Joanna Toye. Starring Eleanor Tomlinson and Ysette Churchman and Miles Jupp Dead Girls Tell No Tales explores the real story behind the death of Grace Archer: a watershed moment in the history of broadcasting and one of the defining cultural events of the 1950s.

    Production credits
    Blithe Spirit
    Written by Noël Coward
    Adapted and directed by Sean O'Connor
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 December 2014

    Calendar Girls
    The accompanying pianist was Simon Taranczuk
    Written by Tim Firth and based on the motion picture Calendar Girls written by Tim Firth and Juliette Towhidi. Adapted and directed by Sean O'Connor
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 27 December 2015

    The Canterbury Tales, Parts 1 & 2
    Tellers of the Tales
    The Knights Tale
    The Miller's Tale
    The Wife of Bath's Tale
    The Sailor's Tale
    The Pardoner's Tale
    The Friar's Tale
    The Franklin's Tale
    The Bailiff's Tale
    Written by Geoffrey Chaucer
    Dramatised by Nick Warburton. Directed by Kim Greengrass. Produced by Alison Hindell
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29 December 2018-5 January 2019

    The Ambridge Mystery Plays
    The Nativity
    The Passion
    First Broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26th December 2021 & 2nd January 2022

    Ambridge Ghost Stories
    Abridged by Jeremy Osborne

    'The Room in the Tower' written by E F Benson
    Produced and directed by Charlotte Davey

    'Lost Hearts' written by M. R. James
    Produced and directed by Mel Ward

    'The Monkey's Paw' written by W. W. Jacobs
    Produced and directed by Charlotte Davey
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 December 2019-1 January 2020

    Dead Girls Tell No Tales
    Cast: Jon Culshaw, Pam Ferris, Lex Shrapnel, Eleanor Tomlinson, Georgie Fuller, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Sally Bretton, Simon Russell Beale, John Hopkins, Claudie Blakley, David Reed, Miles Jupp, Zeb Soanes, Paddy O'Connell, Ysanne Churchman - Herself, David Hounslow, Sam Dale, Chris Pavlo, Jessica Turner and Alex Tregear
    Written by Joanna Toye. Directed by Sean O'Connor
    First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19 September 2015
    ©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

RELEASED 27/01/2022

Noel Coward (Author) Noël Coward was born in 1899, and was a professional actor by the age of ten. In 1920, he starred in his own play, I'll Leave it to You. His first major hit was The Vortex (1924) and his success continued throughout the Twenties and Thirties with plays including Hay Fever (1926), Private Lives (1930) and Design for Living (1932). During the Second World War, he wrote the patriotic screenplayIn Which We Serve (1942), for which he won an Oscar; as well as scripting the classic film Brief Encounter (1944) and entertaining the nation with the black comedy Blithe Spirit (1941). After the war, Coward added a new string to his bow as a cabaret singer, as well as continuing to write musicals and plays. In all, Coward wrote 40 plays, 300 songs and numerous poems, short stories and films. He was knighted in 1970, and died in Jamaica in 1973.

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