Margaret Oliphant: Miss Marjoribanks, Phoebe Junior and Hester

Margaret Oliphant: Miss Marjoribanks, Phoebe Junior and Hester

A BBC Radio Collection


Three BBC radio adaptations of famous novels by the prolific 19th-century author Mrs Oliphant – plus an episode of Reading Aloud, with extracts from her autobiography

Sometimes called ‘the feminist Trollope’, Margaret Oliphant wrote over 100 works of fiction in a wide variety of genres, ranging from novels of small-town life to historical tales and supernatural stories. Included here are three of her best-loved works, brimming with dry wit, perceptive irony and flawed but fascinating heroines.

Miss Marjoribanks
Lucilla Marjoribanks, a large and determined girl, returns from school with two resolves – to comfort her recently widowed father and to revolutionise society. She becomes the doyenne of Carlingford’s social circle with her Thursday soirees – but her plans are disrupted by her friends’ romances, a new arrival, the solving of a mystery and a wedding… Starring Elizabeth Spriggs as Mrs Oliphant and Teresa Gallagher as Lucilla.

Phoebe Junior
Phoebe Beecham has met Clarence Copperhead at a Ball in London. His wealthy father disapproves of her, and she fortuitously leaves London to visit her sick Grandmother in Carlingford. But a shock awaits her on arrival... Starring Elizabeth Spriggs as Mrs Oliphant and Charlotte Attenborough as Phoebe Junior.

In this deliciously sardonic tale of credit and discredit, a young woman in a 19th Century Cheshire town, having been snubbed and discarded in marriage, does something truly radical. When the family bank is in danger, she pledges her private fortune to save it – but insists on running it herself, as a single woman, in defiance of all convention. Starring Penelope Wilton as Margaret Oliphant and Lyndsey Marshal as Hester Vernon.

Also included is a bonus episode of Reading Aloud, in which Gudrun Ure reads from Mrs Oliphant’s autobiography, shining a light on the tragic life of the acclaimed Scottish novelist.

About the authors

Margaret Oliphant

Margaret Oliphant (1828-97) was born in Wallyford, near Edinburgh. Her first novel, Passages in the Life of Margaret Maitland (1849), achieved some success and was followed two years later with further novels. She began contributing to magazines including Blackwoods, for whom she was to write hundreds of short stories, essays, articles and serialised novels such as Katie Stewart (1853). Some of Oliphant's most powerful stories are her supernatural tales, compiled in A Beleaguered City and Other Tales of the Seen and Unseen (1885).
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Kate Clanchy

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Zena Foster

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Elizabeth Proud

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