Tumanbay: The Complete Series 1-4

Tumanbay: The Complete Series 1-4

The BBC Radio epic full-cast saga


An engrossing, expansive historical fantasy drama, inspired by the Mamluk slave dynasty of Egypt

Tumanbay: the wealthiest city on earth. The beating heart of a vast empire. A city of dreams, where those who once arrived as slaves now hold power, and merchants, artists and warriors live side-by-side in peace. But this magnificent city is under threat. A rebellion in a far-off province, led by 'Queen' Maya, is gathering strength - and a mysterious force is devouring the empire from within.

Gregor, a merciless spymaster and Master of the Palace Guard, is charged by Sultan Al-Ghuri to crush the insurgence, as his brother General Qulan is dispatched to quell the provincial insurrection. But as well as rooting out traitors, Gregor must contend with his arch-rival, the cunning Grand Vizier, Cadali. Meanwhile, Heaven, the 14-year-old daughter of slave merchant Ibn, is adrift at sea, captive to an escaped slave on whom she depends for her survival. Madu, the Sultan's spoilt nephew, also has to grow up quickly as he swaps palace life for the army...

As the wheel of fate turns, Tumanbay's fortunes suffer a terrible reversal. Beset by plague, assassins, invasion, occupation and revolution, the once-great city is riven by political intrigue and power struggles. As rulers are toppled and tyrants fall, who will survive and thrive - and who will die?

A Game of Thrones-style epic with the sweep of The Arabian Nights, this compelling story of love, revenge, betrayal and deception won the Best Audio Serial Gold Award at the New York Radio Festival. Among the impressive ensemble cast are Rufus Wright, Olivia Popica, Matthew Marsh, Alexander Siddig, John Sessions, Hiran Abeysekera, Aiysha Hart, Anton Lesser, Tara Fitzgerald, Enzo Cilenti and Rob Jarvis.

Production credits
Created by John Scott Dryden and Mike Walker and inspired by the Mamluk slave rulers of Egypt
Written by John Scott Dryden, Mike Walker and Mac Rogers
Directed by John Scott Dryden
Produced by Emma Hearn, Nadir Khan and John Scott Dryden
Original music by Sacha Puttnam
Additional music by Jon Ouin
Sound Design: Steve Bond, Jon Ouin and Eloise Whitmore
Sound Recording by Joe Richardson and Laurence Farr
Sound Edited by James Morgan and Andrea Gomez
Editors: Ania Przygoda and James Morgan
A Goldhawk Production for BBC Radio 4

© 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
(p) 2021 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the authors

John Dryden

John Dryden is a multi-award-winning writer and director whose radio credits include Pandemic (winner of the 2012 Writers’ Guild of Great Britain Award Best Radio Drama), A Kidnapping (which won Best Debut Performance for actress Jade Matthew at the 2015 BBC Audio Drama Awards), Scenes from a Crime and Tumanbay. He was also named Best Drama Producer at the 2015 Radio Academy Production Awards.
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Mike Walker

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