Aldous Huxley

Aldous Huxley: A BBC Radio Collection

Aldous Huxley: A BBC Radio Collection

Including Brave New World, Antic Hay, The Devils & more

Summary

BBC Radio adaptations of Aldous Huxley’s finest works – plus a bonus documentary programme

‘Over nine hours’ worth of quality drama… The stories presented in ‘A BBC Radio Collection’ combine to give the listener a taste of Huxley’s versatility as a writer. His vivid imagination always leaves the listener with philosophical ideas to ponder.’ Greg Jameson, Entertainment Focus

Philosopher, pacifist, psychonaut and prophet, Aldous Huxley was one of the 20th century’s pre-eminent intellectuals and writers. The author of over 50 books, he was nominated for the Nobel Prize nine times, and elected Companion of Literature by the Royal Society of Literature in 1962, a year before his death. Known for his mordant satire and visionary ideas, Huxley spanned the period from post-First World War disillusionment to mid-century mysticism, and the works in this collection reflect his literary evolution.

Antic Hay, his witty, ironic portrait of the glittering hedonism of 1920s London, is dramatised by award-winning playwright Mike Harris, and stars James Cooney and Emily Pithon.

Originally a short story, Huxley’s dark comedy of manners The Gioconda Smile was adapted as a hit West End play in 1948. This BBC Radio dramatisation stars Peter Bowles as the womanizing Henry Hutton, about to marry his second wife but accused of killing his first.

Brave New World is Huxley’s classic 1932 tale of a future totalitarian dystopia, where promiscuity is the norm, eugenics a respectable science and the drug Soma is freely available. Adapted for Radio 4, it stars Jonathan Coy, Justin Salinger, Milton Lopes and Anton Lesser.

Aldous Huxley’s 1953 novel The Devils of Loudun, an imagined account of a real-life witch trial in 17th-century France, was revamped for the stage as The Devils in 1960. A gripping tale of mass hysteria, religious and sexual obsession and alleged demonic possession, this radio version stars Michael Bryant and Sarah Badel.

The Dwarves, a full-cast drama based on Chapter 13 of Crome Yellow, tells the story of Sir Hercules and his wife Filomena, whose country-house haven for dwarves like themselves is unexpectedly threatened. David Learner, Claire Faulconbridge and Garard Green star.

Concluding our collection are readings of five of his short stories set in the 1920s and a fascinating biographical documentary. Edward Petherbridge reads ‘Cynthia’, ‘The Bookshop’, ‘Eupompus Gave Splendour to Art by Numbers’, ‘Fard’ and ‘The Portrait’, while the documentary All Those Vile Bodies explores the contradictions of the satirist of the brittle 20s turned prescient critic of 20th-century progress. Valentine Cunningham presents, with contributions from Sybille Bedford, Lord Jenkins, Sir Stephen Spender, Gavin Ewart, Julian Symons and Lewis Wolpert, and archive recordings of Huxley, his brother Julian and contemporaries.

First published 1920 (‘Cynthia’, ‘The Bookshop’, ‘Eupompus Gave Splendour to Art by Numbers’), 1921 (‘The Dwarves’), 1923 (Antic Hay), 1924 (‘Fard’, ‘The Portrait’), 1932 (Brave New World), 1948 (The Gioconda Smile), 1960 (The Devils)

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