Classic Dystopias: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

Classic Dystopias: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

The Time Machine, We, The Trial, Brave New World, Nineteen Eighty-Four, The Chrysalids


Full-cast dramatisations of six masterpieces from the founding fathers of dystopian fiction

Dark and disturbing, provocative and prescient, dystopian literature has long captured our imagination with its nightmarish visions of forbidding future worlds. Included here are six classic novels of time-travel, totalitarianism and terror, written by some of the masters of speculative fiction and adapted for radio with all-star casts.

The Time Machine by HG Wells - A Victorian inventor takes a fateful journey into the far future, where mankind has diverged into two species - the Eloi and the Morlocks. Robert Glenister and William Gaunt star in this pioneering science fiction adventure.

We by Evgeny Zamyatin - In a post-revolutionary future, OneState is ruled according to the principles of rationality. The penalty for dissent is death. But when engineer D-503 meets the beautiful 1-330, he begins to question everything... Starring Anton Lesser, Don Warrington and Brigit Forsyth.

The Trial by Franz Kafka - Josef K is an ordinary man who lives a quiet life. Then, one morning, he is awoken by two men and arrested - but what is his crime? Mike Gwylim stars in this gripping dramatisation by Hanif Kureishi.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley - It's 2116 and Helmholtz Watson and Bernard Marx are token rebels in a society where eugenics, promiscuity and happiness are gently enforced. Into this world comes an outsider, John, who will show the duo what rebellion really means... Starring Justin Salinger, John Coy and Milton Lopes.

Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell - Winston Smith works for the Ministry of Truth, rewriting history to suit the Party. When he finds love with Julia, he awakens to new possibilities - but free thinking is forbidden, and Big Brother is always watching... Christopher Eccleston and Pippa Nixon star in Orwell's chilling tale.

The Chrysalids by John Wyndham - In a post-apocalyptic world devastated by genetic mutation, the God-respecting people of Waknuk regard deviation as the work of the Devil. Young David and his friends can communicate by telepathy: but as Mutants, they must hide their powers or face the consequences of discovery... Starring Matthew Beard, Verity-May Henry and Emma Cunniffe.

First published 1899 (The Time Machine), 1921 (We), 1925 (The Trial), 1932 (Brave New World), 1949 (Nineteen Eighty-Four), 1955 (The Chrysalids)

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About the authors

H G Wells

H.G. Wells was a professional writer and journalist who published more than a hundred books, including pioneering science fiction novels, histories, essays and programmes for world regeneration. He was a founding member of numerous movements including Liberty and PEN International - the world's oldest human rights organization - and his Rights of Man laid the groundwork for the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Wells' controversial and progressive views on equality and the shape of a truly developed nation remain directly relevant to our world today. He was, in Bertrand Russell's words, 'an important liberator of thought and action'.
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Yevgeni Zamyatin

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Franz Kafka

Franz Kafka (1883-1924) was born of Jewish parents in Prague. Several of his story collections were published in his lifetime and his novels, The Trial, The Castle, and Amerika, were published posthumously by his editor Max Brod.
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Aldous Huxley

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George Orwell

Eric Arthur Blair (1903-1950), better known by his pen-name, George Orwell, was born in India, where his father worked for the Civil Service. An author and journalist, Orwell was one of the most prominent and influential figures in twentieth-century literature. His unique political allegory Animal Farm was published in 1945, and it was this novel, together with the dystopia of Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949), which brought him world-wide fame. His novels and non-fiction include Burmese Days, Down and Out in Paris and London, The Road to Wigan Pier and Homage to Catalonia.
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John Wyndham

John Wyndham was born in 1903 in the Midlands. After leaving school, he tried his hand at several careers, including farming, law and advertising, before starting to write stories in 1925. During the war he worked as a censor in the Ministry of Information and afterwards served in the Army. The Day of The Triffids was published in 1951, and was followed by many other famous works of science fiction, including The Kraken Wakes, The Chrysalids and The Midwich Cuckoos. Wyndham died in 1969.
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