The Mystery of Edwin Drood

The Mystery of Edwin Drood

A full-cast BBC dramatisation with a brand new ending


A thrilling radio re-imagining telling the story of Charles Dickens' last days, and providing a brand new conclusion to his famous unfinished novel

April, 1870. Bone-weary, sick, and struggling with a hidden guilt, Charles Dickens is grappling with what will be his final book - The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Two months later, he is dead, and the novel remains unfinished: only 6 of the 12 planned instalments had been completed.

Centring around the title character, whose sudden disappearance throws the town of Cloisterham into a panic, the story introduces us to a host of potential suspects who could have caused him harm. Edwin's fiancée, Rosa Bud, was having second thoughts about their engagement; his uncle, John Jasper, was known to be jealous of him; and orphan twins Neville and Helena Landless had both tangled with Edwin too. Rumours of murder abound, but his fate is left unanswered...

Set in a phantasmagorical, drug-fuelled landscape where nobody is who or what they claim to be, and motives are more tangled than the alleyways of the nightmare city where the action unfolds, this compelling mystery is one of the greatest puzzles of literature. In this new, fast-moving and impressionistic retelling, we track Dickens as he works on the novel in the weeks before his death, and follow his daughter Kate as she strives to solve the mystery of who killed Drood - and understand the demon that drove her father to fatal exhaustion.

Also included is a bonus documentary, The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood, in which Frances Fyfield uses her crime-writer's insights to try and find out what really happened to Dickens' eponymous hero.

Cast and credits
Written by Charles Dickens
Adapted by Mike Walker
Produced and directed by Jeremy Mortimer
Executive producer: James Robinson

Kate Dickens... Pippa Nixon
John Jasper... Joel McCormack
Edwin Drood ... Iwan Davies
Rosa Bud ... Isabella Inchbald
Princess Puffer... Rachel Atkins
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21 December 2020-1 January 2021

The Mystery of the Mystery of Edwin Drood
Presented by Frances Fyfield
With Simon Brett and Professor Jenny Hartley
Produced by Tom Alban

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 19 January 2021

About the author

Charles Dickens

Charles Dickens was born in Hampshire on February 7, 1812. His father was a clerk in the navy pay office, who was well paid but often ended up in financial troubles. When Dickens was twelve years old he was send to work in a shoe polish factory because his family had been taken to the debtors' prison. His career as a writer of fiction started in 1833 when his short stories and essays began to appear in periodicals. The Pickwick Papers, his first commercial success, was published in 1836. The serialisation of Oliver Twist began in 1837. Many other novels followed and The Old Curiosity Shop brought Dickens international fame and he became a celebrity in America as well as Britain. Charles Dickens died on 9 June 1870. He is buried in Westminster Abbey.
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