A BBC Radio drama adaptation of the Renaissance classic


Terry Jones introduces ten dramatisations of choice Florentine Fancies, adapted from Giovanni Boccaccio's classic human comedy by the BBC

Monty Python star and medieval historian Terry Jones presents ten BBC Radio dramatisations of tales from Giovanni Boccaccio's humane and comic masterpiece.

Composed in the early 1350s, in the wake of the Black Death, The Decameron comprises 100 short stories from all over the world, reset by Boccaccio among the flourishing merchant classes of Renaissance Italy. Their universal themes - love, sex, religion, fate, morality - resonate with us to this day, and their witty, satirical, bawdy voice sounds utterly modern. Beautifully realised in vivid, vernacular prose, they have become a bedrock of our storytelling tradition, mined ever since by authors from Chaucer to Shakespeare, Keats, Molière and Thomas Mann.

The scene is the onset of the Black Death, Italy and a group of seven young women and three young men escape to the countryside to shelter in a secluded villa just outside of Florence in order to escape the Plague. There, they tell each other tales from all over the world.

These ten radio retellings are performed by a stellar cast, including John Finnemore, Ingrid Oliver, Geoffrey Streatfeild, Lydia Leonard, Tim McInnerny, Samuel Barnett, Neil Pearson, Louise Brealey, and Tameka Empson.

Cast and credits
Saint Ciappelletto
Ciappelletto - Colin McFarlane
Musciatto - Sam Dale
Holy Friar - Michael Bertenshaw
The Burgundians - Monty d'Inverno & Paul Heath
Doctor - Ian Conningham

Federigo and His Falcon
Federigo degli Alberighi - John Finnemore
Monna - Ingrid Oliver
Elena - Carrie Quinlan
Beppo - Shaun Mason
Niccolo - Adam Thomas Wright

How Elena Blew Hot and Cold
Elena - Lydia Leonard
Violante - Elaine Claxton
Rinieri - Cyril Nri
Pyrrhus - Paul Heath

How to Get It Off Your Chest
Zeppa - Ian Conningham
Mrs Zeppa - Hannah Genesius
Spinelloccio - Shaun Mason
Mrs Spinelloccio - Bettrys Jones
Narrator - Jude Akuwudike

Kind Hearts and Bayonets
Mithridanes - Samuel Barnett
Nathan - Sam Dale
Beggarmaid - Bettrys Jones

The Sweetest Young Man in Perugia
Pietro - Tim McInnerny
Madam - Hannah Genesius
Pandara - Jane Slavin
Masetto - Monty d'Inverno
Ercolano - David Acton

The Wager
Musciatto - Michael Bertenshaw
Ambrogiuolo - Geoffrey Streatfeild
Bernabo - Paul Ritter
Zinevra - Louise Brealey
Sultan - Jude Akuwudike
Captain - Shaun Mason

A Job for the Boys
Masetto - Neil Pearson
Sister Donna - Tameka Empson
Sister Lisa - Rhiannon Neads
Hildegard - Jane Slavin
Nuto - Sam Dale
Steward - Michael Bertenshaw

Love Lies Sleeping
Silvestra - Laura Molyneux
Beppo - Rudi Dharmalingam
Giovanni - Joseph Drake
Mother - Jane Slavin
Rinaldo - David Acton

A Quiet Night in Naples
Andreuccio - Gunnar Cauthery
Filomena - Roslyn Hill
Scarabone - Shaun Mason
Neighbour - David Acton
Ludo - Paul Heath
Bruno - Ian Conningham
Sister Lisa - Elaine Claxton
Sister Donna - Hannah Genesius

First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 1-12 December 2014

Written by Giovanni Boccaccio
Adapted by Robin Brooks
Music arranged and performed by Robert Hollingworth and Paula Chateauneuf
Translations by Silvia Reseghetti
Script consultant: Guyda Armstrong
Produced and directed by Jonquil Panting

© 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

About the author

Giovanni Boccaccio

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