A captivating BBC Radio adaptation of Cervantes' masterpiece, chronicling the adventures of an intrepid knight errant and his faithful squire
Locked up in jail, Miguel de Cervantes is attempting to start a novel when he is visited by a priest, who tells him about an old man driven insane by chivalric romances and a vision of glory. Inspired, Cervantes takes up his pen, and begins to write...
His story begins in La Mancha, where an elderly country gentleman decides to emulate his knightly heroes, Sir Lancelot and El Cid, and embark on a quest to prove his valour. Renaming himself Don Quixote, he puts on his rusty armour, takes up his broadsword, saddles his broken-down horse, Rocinante, and rides out with his loyal squire Sancho Panza to put the world to rights.
Spurred on by thoughts of his lady, the beautiful Dulcinea, he travels the Spanish countryside, charging at giants disguised as windmills, battling evil enchanters dressed as friars and bravely offering to fight a lion. But as his colourful fantasies come up against mundane reality, will the valiant knight be vanquished?
Adapted by award-winning playwright John Arden and narrated by Ronald Baddiley as Cervantes, with Bob Grant as Don Quixote and Bernard Cribbins as Sancho Panza, this magical, metafictional tale, full of comic incidents and stories-within-stories, is at once farcical and heart-breaking.
First published over 400 years ago, Cervantes' classic has been described as the first modern novel. One of the bestselling books of all time, it has been translated into over 100 languages and influenced countless authors including Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Borges. Included here is a 2-part bonus programme, Masterpiece: Don Quixote, exploring its importance and enduring popularity. Among the contributors are Carlos Fuentes, Ben Okri and Doris Lessing, who voted the book 'the greatest literary work ever written' in a 2002 survey of 100 authors worldwide.
Cast and credits
Don Quixote - Bob Grant
Sancho Panza - Bernard Cribbins
Cervantes - Ronald Baddiley
Father Perez - David Sumner
Barber-Surgeon - Peter Wheeler
Housekeeper - Kathleen Helme
Antonia - Kate Lee
Moor - Geoffrey Banks
Innkeeper - Kenneth Alan Taylor
Dorothea - Linda Gardner
Market boy - Alan Parnaby
Sergeant - Alan Meadows
Don Fernando - Simon Molloy
Aldonza - Meg Johnson
Duke - Russell Dixon
Samson - Stephen Boxer
Teresa Panza - Paula Tilbrook
Altisidora - Harriet Walter
Scholar - Malcolm Hebden
Puppet Master - Ken Campbell
Duchess - Judith Arthy
Veiled Lady - Anne Reid
Steward - John McGregor
Other parts played by members of the cast
Written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra
Adapted by John Arden
Directed by Alfred Bradley
Music composed by Stephen Boxer and played by Ian Gammie, Bill Nixon, Jane Ryan, Roderick Skeaping, John Turner and Stephen Boxer
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 5-6 October 1980
Masterpiece: Don Quixote
With contributions from: Geoff West, Jeremy Lawrance, Julian Weiss, Francisco Rico, Andrew Sachs, Francisco Sesto, Adrienne Martin, Anne Cruz, Orson Welles, Edith Grossman, Carlos Fuentes, Ben Okri and Doris Lessing
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15-22 August 2005
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