Sir Ian McKellen stars as Milton in this dramatised retelling of John Milton’s epic poem about the fall of Man
Milton’s biblical masterpiece, first published in 1667, is one of English literature’s most seminal works. Straddling three worlds – Heaven, Hell and Earth – it tells the gripping story of fallen angel Satan’s rebellion against God, his temptation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
Written to ‘justify the ways of God to men’, it aimed to show what caused Mankind's fall and the consequences for the world, both bad and good. By reaching back to the beginning of time, Milton hoped to discover the events that had led to the political and societal upheaval of his own era – as well as using allegory to ask powerful questions about authority, government, tyranny and disobedience. In this brand new dramatisation, Milton himself (Sir Ian McKellen) is the blind narrator grieving the loss of his wife, played by Frances Barber.
Also starring Simon Russell Beale as Satan, and adapted by award-winning poet and broadcaster Michael Symmons Roberts, this enthralling drama is a vital piece of storytelling with striking parallels to contemporary events.
Cast and credits
Milton……………………Sir Ian McKellen
Satan……………………Simon Russell Beale
All other parts were played by members of the company
Written by John Milton
Dramatised by Michael Symmons Roberts
Produced and directed by Susan Roberts
The highly-acclaimed BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of Milton's epic poem telling the story of the fall of man, and also its sequel, "Paradise Regained".
Out of chaos shall come order and out of darkness shall come light. Paradise is lost - and then regained.
John Milton's epic, biblically inspired poems are wonderfully dramatised for BBC Radio starring Denis Quilley as Milton, Ian McDiarmid as Satan and Robert Glenister as Christ, enhanced by specially composed music.
First published in 1667, Paradise Lost describes Satan's plot to ruin God's new and most favoured creation, Mankind, and recounts the temptation of Adam and Eve and their banishment from the Garden of Eden.
Paradise Regained, published in 1671, tells of the temptation of Christ by Satan as he wanders in the wilderness for forty days and nights.
Milton: Denis Quilley
Satan: Ian McDiarmid
Christ: Robert Glenister
Raphael: John Rowe
God: Godfrey Kenton
Adam: Linus Roache
Michael: Mark Straker
Abdiel/Andrew: Julian Rhind-Tutt
Nisroc: John Church
Simon/Angel: Matthew Morgan
Belial: Steve Hodson
Angel: David Thorpe
Milton's celebrated epic poem, now in a gorgeous new clothbound edition designed by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith. These delectable and collectable editions are bound in high-quality, tactile cloth with foil stamped into the design.
In Paradise Lost Milton produced a poem of epic scale, conjuring up a vast, awe-inspiring cosmos and ranging across huge tracts of space and time. And yet, in putting a charismatic Satan and naked Adam and Eve at the centre of this story, he also created an intensely human tragedy on the Fall of Man. Written when Milton was in his fifties - blind, bitterly disappointed by the Restoration and briefly in danger of execution - Paradise Lost's apparent ambivalence towards authority has led to intense debate about whether it manages to 'justify the ways of God to men', or exposes the cruelty of Christianity.
John Milton (1608-1674) spent his early years in scholarly pursuit. In 1649 he took up the cause for the new Commonwealth, defending the English revolution both in English and Latin - and sacrificing his eyesight in the process. He risked his life by publishing The Ready and Easy Way to Establish a Free Commonwealth on the eve of the Restoration (1660). His great poems were published after this political defeat.
John Leonard is a Professor of English at the University of Western Ontario.
John Milton was born on 9 December 1608. He studied at St Paul's School and then at Christ's College, Cambridge. He wrote poetry in Latin and Italian as well as English and travelled in Italy between 1638 and 1639. He married Mary Powell in 1642 but their relationship quickly broke down and they lived apart until 1645. They had four children, three daughters and a son who died in infancy. During the Interregnum after the execution of Charles I, Milton worked for the civil service and wrote pamphlets in support of the new republic. He also began work on his masterpiece, Paradise Lost, as early as 1642. His first wife died in 1652 and he married again in 1656, although his second wife died not long afterwards in 1658. When the monarchy was restored in 1660 Milton was arrested but was released with a fine. In 1663 he married his third wife, Elizabeth Minshull and he is also thought to have finished Paradise Lost in this same year. He published the companion poem, Paradise Regained, in 1671.John Milton died on 8 November 1674.