Books

The Sceptred Isle: The Dynasties

Christopher Lee (and others)

The Sceptred Isle provided the definitive radio account of the British nation, from 55BC to the end of the 20th century. Now its attention turns towards the incredibly powerful families which have wielded power behind the scenes for the past 1,000 years. The Dynasties relates how the loyalties of this privileged elite, many of whom are older than the monarchy itself, were tested and rewarded; it also uncovers a multitude of murderous plots, bloody battles, adulteries, intrigues and shocking executions.

The first volume examines three powerful houses: The Godwines, the north-dwelling Percys and the royalist Despensers.

Volume two looks at the Mortimers, the Berkeleys and a triumvirate of warring Irish dysnasties: the Macmurroughs, the Fitzgeralds and the O'Neills.

The third volume investigates the Churchills, the Cecils and the Scottish Dalrymples.

In the fourth volume the Cavendishes appear, along with the Comptons and the Russells.

In the fifth and final volume, the families examined include the Carringtons, the Waldegraves and the Norfolks. There is also a look at the families who today continue the tradition of dynastical power at the highest levels.

This Sceptred Isle: Collection 1: 55BC - 1702

Christopher Lee (and others)

The first five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle. Christopher Lee’s epic history tells the story of Britain from the Romans to the death of Victoria. This collection includes the original first five volumes:

55BC-1087: Julius Caesar to William the Conqueror From Britannia under the Romans to the Dark Ages and the invasions of Angles, Saxons, Danes, and Norwegians.

1087-1327: The Making of the Nation The Crusades, Welsh and Scottish rebellions and the foundations of the modern state – including Magna Carta and the fledgling English Parliament.

1327-1547 The Black Prince to Henry VIII The Hundred Years’ War, the Peasants’ Revolt, the Wars of the Roses and the reign of Henry VIII.

1547-1660 Elizabeth I to Cromwell Elizabeth I’s long reign; the Civil War, the execution of Charles I and the establishment of Cromwell as Lord Protector.

1660-1702 Restoration and Glorious Revolution The return of Charles II, the Great Plague and Great Fire of London, and a ruler from a different country on the throne: William of Orange.

Narrated by Anna Massey, with extracts from Sir Winston Churchill’s A History of the English-speaking Peoples read by Paul Eddington and Peter Jeffrey, this is the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation.

Duration: 15 hours approx.

This Sceptred Isle Collection 2: 1702 - 1901

Christopher Lee (and others)

The final five volumes from the landmark BBC radio series This Sceptred Isle.

Christopher Lee's epic history tells the story of Britain from the Romans to the death of Victoria. This collection includes the original volumes 6-10:

1702-1760: The First British EmpireThe reign of George I; Britain's first Prime Minister, Robert Walpole, and the first rendition of Rule Britannia.

1760-1792: The Age of Revolution The Industrial Revolution begins; America declares independence and France is rocked by social and politicalupheaval.

1792-1815: Nelson, Wellington and Napoleon War in Europe; the introduction of Income Tax; and England is victorious in the Battle of Trafalgar.

1815-1837: Regency and Reform The Prince of Wales becomes George IV; Sir Robert Peel creates the Metropolitan Police and slavery is abolished in the British Empire.

1837-1901: The Age of Victoria Victoria's 64-year reign encompasses huge social changes; Britain expands her empire and the Labour Party is founded.

Narrated by Anna Massey, with extracts from Sir Winston Churchill's A History of the English-speaking Peoples read by Peter Jeffrey, this is the definitive radio account of the events and personalities that have shaped our nation. Duration: 14 hours approx.

Neverwhere

Dirk Maggs (and others)

**Neil Gaiman was the WINNER of the BBC Audio Drama Award 2015 for Outstanding Contribution to Radio Drama**

Beneath the streets of London there is another London. A subterranean labyrinth of sewers and abandoned tube stations. A somewhere that is Neverwhere... An act of kindness sees Richard Mayhew catapulted from his ordinary life into the strange world of London Below. There he meets the Earl of Earl's Court, faces a life-threatening ordeal at the hands of the Black Friars, comes face to face with the Great Beast of London, and encounters an Angel. Called Islington. Accompanied by the mysterious Door and her companions, the Marquis de Carabas and the bodyguard Hunter, Richard embarks on an extraordinary quest to escape from the fiendish assassins Croup and Vandemar and to discover who ordered them to murder her family - all the while trying to get back to his old life in London Above. Adapted for radio by the award-winning Dirk Maggs, this captivating dramatisation features a stellar cast including David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Christopher Lee, Anthony Head and David Schofield. Contains over 25 minutes of additional unbroadcast material, including extended scenes, bloopers and outtakes.

3 CDs. 3 hrs 48 mins.

Johnners' A View From The Boundary Test Match Special

Barry Johnston (and others)

John Cleese, Christopher Lee and Michael Parkinson share their passion for cricket with the great broadcaster, Brian Johnston. During the lunch interval on the Saturday of every Test in England, BBC Radio’s ‘Test Match Special’ used to invite a well-known guest into the commentary box for a chat with Brian Johnston about themselves and their passion for cricket. Some turned out to be able cricketers, but they all had stories to tell about matches they had seen and cricketers they had met. Barry Johnston - Brian Johnston’s son - has selected five chats from the series ‘A View from the Boundary’, beginning in 1980 with the playwright Ben Travers, and his vivid recollections of W.G. Grace and other characters from the golden age of cricket. He is followed by Michael Charlton, the political broadcaster and former cricket commentator, who covered the great Australia v West Indies tied Test in 1960, and John Cleese, a lifelong Somerset supporter, who tells some funny stories about ‘Monty Python’ and ‘Fawlty Towers’. Hollywood film star Sir Christopher Lee recalls watching the legendary Jack Hobbs and Don Bradman, and Sir Michael Parkinson talks about opening the batting at Barnsley with Dickie Bird and how he nearly played for Hampshire. Publisher’s note: This recording was taken from part of the cassette release of ‘A View from the Boundary’.

1 CD. 1 hr 15 mins approx.

Biography

Christopher Lee (born 1941) is a British writer, historian and broadcaster, best known for writing the radio documentary series This Sceptred Isle for the BBC read by Anna Massey and directed by Pete Atkin. Lee's career began after expulsion from school and running away to sea in an old tramp steamer built for the duration of World War II. In his Twenties he re-started education reading history at London University. He later joined the BBC as a defence and foreign affairs correspondent and was posted to Moscow and the Middle East. Leaving his career in journalism for academia, Lee was the first Quatercentenary Fellow in Contemporary History and Gomes Lecturer in Emmanuel College, Cambridge. He went on to research the history of ideas at Birkbeck College in the University of London. Lee is the originator and writer of the BBC Radio 4 trilogy This Sceptred Isle, which recounts the history of Britain from the Romans to the death of Queen Victoria, the 20th century and the British Empire. His recent books include the three accompanying volumes of This Sceptred Isle. In 2003 was published 1603, the history of the death of Elizabeth I and the arrival of the Stuarts. In 2005, Nelson and Napoleon described the events that led to the Battle of Trafalgar and also in the same year he published the autobiographic Eight Bells and Top Masts the story of his time as a deck boy and his circumnavigation of the globe and the Bath Detective thriller trilogy. In 2006, he gave a "Platform" talk on history writing and teaching at the National Theatre as a prelude to Alan Bennett's play The History Boys and a new stage play set in the London of 1912. His study of the British monarchy and its future was published in spring 2014 and his book on Royal Ceremony and Regalia is to be published early 2015. In 2011 he published a single-volume abridgment of Winston Churchill's four-volume A History of the English-Speaking Peoples. He is currently writing an authorised biography of Lord Carrington and the history of the Viceroys of India, with illustrations by his wife. He is also the writer of more than 100 Radio 4 plays and series including, The House for Timothy West, Julian Glover and Isla Blair, Colvil & Soames for Christopher Benjamin and Amanda Redman, Our Brave Boys for Martin Jarvis and Fiona Shaw and the Los Angeles production of his The Trial of Walter Raleigh which Rosalind Ayres produced with Michael York in the title role. His play, "A Pattern in Shrouds" was broadcast on Radio 4 in the summer of 2009 and deals with the consequences of the assassination of the Queen's uncle, Lord Mountbatten in 1979. In 2013 the BBC ran his play Air Force One that questioned the events during the 90 minutes between the assassination of President Kennedy and swearing in of Lyndon B Johnson aboard the presidential plane. In December 2014 Lee was commissioned as the Climate Change Analyst of the Fort Foundation examination of Climate Change and Global Warming data in preparation for the 2015 Paris Conference. Through the Fort Foundation and encouraged by its founder, Ted Fort, he was linked also as an observer to Climate Change work initiated by projects made possible by the work of a team led by HSH Prince Albert II of Monaco. Lee's direct interest in the global tapestry is the migration of masses due to global warming and the security consequences and has completed a study for the British Forces Broadcasting Service. His next major project is on the constitutional future of the British Royal Family to go alongside his book, Monarchy, The Past, The Present, The Future...?