Alan Bennett Drama Omnibus

Several Alan Bennett Plays
from archive.org

A Rowboat In The Cellar by Mick Jackson

A homemade rowboat leads an old man from his cellar to a magical cavern for the retired.

Reader: Alan Bennett

A Visit From Miss Protheroe

Mr Dodsworth is happy in quiet retirement until Miss Prothero pays him a visit. Alan Bennett play starring Patricia Routledge and Hugh Lloyd.

Denmark Hill

Alan Bennett's idiosyncratic take on the Hamlet story adapted for radio. Seen largely through the beady eyes of a 15 year old schoolgirl, this is Bennett in black comedy mode.

The play is set in a leafy south London suburb, in the year of an election. Gwen's husband, Frank, lies ill in bed upstairs while downstairs Harriet, her daughter, is struggling with an essay on "Shakespeare's view of the family". In the aftermath of Frank's death we slowly realise we are being drawn into a strangely familiar story - a suburban Hamlet. In different guises here come Claudius, Gertrude, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern, Polonius and Ophelia. Even the players play their part.

Denmark Hill was originally written as an uncommissioned TV/film screenplay in 1981/2. For whatever reasons, Bennett can't remember, he kept it in a drawer until it went with all his papers to the Bodleian library for archival storage. Honor Borwick urged Tristram Powell, with Bennett's permission, to search the archives. At last Powell unearthed the hand typed script.

Denmark Hill is Bennett's own kind of observational comedy, the Hamlet connections are never heavy, just lightly touched on. It is narrated by Alan Bennett, directed by Tristram Powell, adapted for radio by Honor Borwick and produced by Marilyn Imrie.

Written by Alan Bennett

Produced by Marilyn Imrie
A Catherine Bailey Production for BBC Radio 4.

Narrator Alan Bennett
Harriet Bryony Hannah

Gwen Penny Downie
George Robert Glenister

Charles Samuel Barnett

Canon Everest Geoffrey Palmer
Frank Geoffrey Palmer
Drunk Geoffrey Palmer

Vicar Malcolm Sinclair
Nightingale Malcolm Sinclair
Player 1 Malcolm Sinclair
Rogers Malcolm Sinclair
Green Party Canvasser Malcolm Sinclair

Gilliatt Stephen Critchlow
Gary Stephen Critchlow
Stanley Stephen Critchlow

Player 2 Stephen Critchlow
Labour Canvasser Stephen Critchlow

Mourner 1 Stephen Critchlow

Nicola Cathy Sara
Lillian Cathy Sara
Woman in Church Cathy Sara

Cons. Canvasser Cathy Sara

Writer Alan Bennett
Adaptor Honor Borwick

Director Tristram Powell
Producer Marilyn Imrie

Forty Years On

Albion House's retiring headmaster is outraged by the school's traditional end-of-year play which is being produced by his successor.

The headmaster can only see his beloved standards being mocked. Yet within the parody lies a painful nostalgia for a more peaceful, vanished age.

Alan Bennett's acclaimed satirical comedy.

Starring Alan Bennett as the Headmaster, Eleanor Bron as Matron, Robert Bathurst as Franklin, Adam Godley as Tempest, Auriol Smith as Miss Nisbitt, Nicholas Boulton as the Teacher, Ilan Goodman as the Head Boy and Gavin Muir as the Radio Voice.

Other parts played by Hassan Akram. Luke Blackall. Mark Lowen, Nicholas Netzgen, Tom Milner, Marcus Mumford, Hiten Pankhania, Matthew Poulson, Jack Schennum, Ripton Scott, Simon Spiro and other pupils from King's College School, Wimbledon.

Choir boys: Dominic Conte and Luke Eastman.

Original music by Colin Sell, performed by members of the East 15 Acting School.

Piano: Pete Ringrose.

Director: Gordon House

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2000.


A series of prose pieces about Bennett's early experiences of music.

His memories have been set to music by the celebrated film composer, George Fenton, and were premiered in performance by the Medici String Quartet at the Harrogate Festival in August 2001.

Kafka's Dick

Richard Griffiths, Alison Steadman and Nigel Anthony star in this BBC Radio 4 version of Alan Bennett's acclaimed comedy drama stage play.

Present-day Kafka aficionado Sydney, and his wife Linda, are visited by the long-dead Kafka and his friend Max Brod (with whom Kafka had left instructions for all his works to be burned - instructions which Brod chose to ignore).

As we spend time with the unusual party, it becomes clear that Kafka's wish was for anonymity - and also that he had serious issues with his father. When his parent turns up, he is in possession of a very personal secret relating to his son - one which Kafka is terrified he will disclose...

Peter & Wendy

Alan Bennett's reading of children's stories have become classics in their own right.

Now he brings his distinctive voice to JM Barrie's story of the little boy who wouldn't grow up. To the night nursery of the Darling Children, Wendy, John and Michael, comes Peter Pan, a motherless half magical boy who teaches them how to fly and takes them through the skies to the Never Never Land, a place peopled with mermaids, wolves and pirates led by the dastardly Captain Hook.

The children, with the fairy Tinker Bell and the Lost Boys enjoy a series of amazing adventures before flying home.

The Clothes They Stood Up In

The playwright reads his story about an old couple who return home to find everything gone

Say Something Happened

Alan Bennett play, starring Thora Hird. Mr and Mrs Rhodes have a caller - a social worker pestering them about hypothermia. Unfortunately June isn't a very good social worker.

The Last Of The Sun [Thora Hird]

Dame Thora Hird's final radio role as old people's home resident Dolly.

Written especially for her and introduced by the author, Alan Bennett.

The Madness Of King George III

Oscar-winning actor Jim Broadbent stars as 'mad' King George III in the title role of this adaptation of Alan Bennett's award-winning play, which co-stars Cheryl Campbell, Nicholas Farrell and Alun Armstrong.

The King is losing his mind. Doctors are brought in as his eccentric behaviour becomes more bizarre and erratic, while his son, the Prince Regent, waits - and plots.

Two in Torquay [Alan Bennett & Judi Dench]

A middle-aged man and woman chat politely in a hotel. Neither is quite what they seem to be.

Stars Alan Bennett and Judi Dench.

From May 2003.

The History Boys

By Alan Bennett, adapted for radio by Richard Wortley from Nicholas Hytner's National Theatre production.

More than three decades on from Forty Years On, Bennett turns his attention once more to education - encompassing both the tussles of staffroom rivalry and the anarchy of adolescence.


Hector ...... Richard Griffiths
Irwin ...... Geoffrey Streatfeild

Mrs Lintott ...... Frances de la Tour
The Headmaster ...... Clive Merrison

Crowther ...... Samuel Anderson
Posner ...... Samuel Barnett

Dakin ...... Dominic Cooper
Timms ...... James Corden

Akthar ...... Sacha Dhawan
Lockwood ...... Andrew Knott

Scripps ...... Jamie Parker
Rudge ...... Russell Tovey

Samuel Barnett (singer)
Jamie Parker, Tom Attwood (piano)

Producer David Hunter.

Alan Bennett's play, set in the Eighties in the fictional Cutlers' Grammar School, Sheffield. The play follows a group of history pupils preparing for the Oxbridge entrance exams under the guidance of three contrasting teachers and a headmaster with ambitions to move the school up the academic league table.

The drama features the original National Theatre cast, including Richard Griffiths (Pie in the Sky and Bleak House) and James Corden (The Wrong Mans and The Late, Late Show).

First broadcast on Radio 3 in 2006

Talking Heads (2020 versions) by Alan Bennett



  1. A Rowboat In The Cellar (12.8Mb)
  2. A Visit From Miss Protheroe (26.5Mb)
  3. Denmark Hill (52.3Mb)
  4. Forty Years On (77.3Mb)
  5. Hymn (39.7Mb)
  6. Kafka's Dick [Richard Griffiths & Alison Steadman] [BBC R4 Alan Bennett] (82.8Mb)
  7. Peter & Wendy [BBC R4 Alan Bennett] (13.3Mb)
  8. S01E01 The Clothes They Stood Up In (53.1Mb)
  9. S01E02 The Clothes They Stood Up In (70.4Mb)
  10. Say Something Happened (27.4Mb)
  11. The Lady In The Van [Play] (79.9Mb)
  12. The Last Of The Sun [Thora Hird] (12.4Mb)
  13. The Madness Of King George III (82.4Mb)
  14. Two in Torquay [Alan Bennett & Judi Dench] (15.7Mb)
  15. The History Boys (137.2Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.