Anton Chekhov: A BBC Radio Drama Collection

BBC radio productions of seven of Anton Chekhov's finest plays.
from archive.org

BBC radio productions of seven of Anton Chekhov's finest plays.

A master of Russian realism, Anton Chekhov is renowned for his meticulously observed plays and short stories exploring the human condition, in all its joys and sorrows. Included here are six of his best-known dramas, as well as Michael Frayn's adaptation of Wild Honey.

Wild Honey
Village schoolmaster Platonov has it all - wit, intelligence, a comfortable and respectable life in provincial Russia, and the attentions of four beautiful women - one of whom is his devoted wife. As summer arrives and the seasonal festivities commence, the rapidly intensifying heat makes everyone giddy with sunlight, vodka and passion.
Chehov's play was discovered in a bank vault in 1920, 16 years after his death - with the title page of the play missing, leading to its rather varied history of titles. The original piece was nearly six hours long and Michael Frayn has done a masterful job of turning the work into something quintessentially Chekhovian.
Platonov ...... David Tennant
Anna Petrovna ...... Sasha Behar
Dr Triletzky ...... Elliot Levey
Sasha ...... Olivia Darnley
Sofya ...... Eva Feiler
Sergey ...... John Hollingworth
Osip ...... Forbes Masson
Colonel Triletzky ...... Rupert Vansittart
Porfiry Semyonovich Glagolyev ...... Christian Rodska
Gerasim Kuzmich Petrin ...... Ben Onwukwe
Marko ...... Nigel Cooke
Marya Yefimovna Grekova ...... Prisca Bakare
Adapted by Michael Frayn.
Director: Clive Brill
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in June 2018.

The Seagull
Chekhov's classic play is transposed to the West of Ireland in 1896. Social unrest and a crumbling society form the background to personal turmoil as Isobel Desmond, great actress of the London stage, returns to her Irish estate and a family trapped in a complex and vicious circle.
Isobel Desmon ... Anna Massey
Aston ... Alan Rickman
Constantine ... Dominic Guard
Lily ... Fiona Victory
Dr Hickey ... T.P. McKenna
Pauline ... Kate Binchy
Peter ... Alan MacNaughtan
Mary ... Maggie McCarthy
James ... Sean Barret
Gregory ... Tony Doyle
Jack ... Breffni McKenna
Dramatised by Thomas Kilroy
Directed by David Hitchinson
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in April 1987.

The Cherry Orchard
Ranyevskya returns to the family estate after 5 years in Paris to face seemingly insurmountable debts. Local businessman Lopakhin is keen to offer her a way out but there'll be a price to pay.
Ranyevskya ..... Emma Fielding
Lopakhin ..... Neil Dudgeon
Anya ..... Lucy Doyle
Varya ..... Joan Iyiola
Gayev ..... Dominic Coleman
Peter ..... Nicholas Prasad
Pishchik ..... Tony Turner
Charlotte ..... Alexandra Constantinidi
Yepikhodov ..... Matthew Wilson
Dunyasha ..... Saffron Coomber
Yasha ..... Liam Lau Fernandez
Firs ..... Sean Murray
The Tramp ..... Lewis Bray
Dramatised by Katherine Tozer
Directed by Toby Swift
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2018

Three Sisters
Three sisters living in a garrison town in provincial Russia dream of the day that they will return to their home city of Moscow. Maybe then their lives will really start. But in Anton Chekhov's poignant meditation on love and longing, somehow real life keeps getting in the way.
Olga ... Hattie Morahan
Masha ... Scarlett Alice Johnson
Irina ... Flora Spencer-Longhurst
Andrei ... Alex Waldmann
Dr Chebutykin ... Robert Pugh
Colonel Vershinin ... Elliot Cowan
Baron Tuzenbach ... Mark Edel-Hunt
Captain Solyony ... Jonathan Forbes
Natasha ... Leila Crerar
Kulygin ... Sion Pritchard
Anfisa ... Shirley Dixon
Ferapont ... William Thomas
Fedotik ... Gareth Pierce
Roday ... Aled Bidder
Adapted for radio by D.J.Britton
Directed by Alison Hindell
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in March 2016

19th Century landowner Ivanov is in debt and depressed - can the love of a beautiful young woman rejuvenate him?
Ivanov ... Ralph Feinnes
Orkin ... Antony O'Donnell
Anna Petrova ... Harriet Walter
Count Shebelsky ... Oliver Ford Davis
Yebedev ... Bill Paterson
Ivof ... David Morissey
Sacha ... Camilla Power
Dramatised and Directed by David Hare
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in August 2015.

The Wood Demon
A luncheon party gathers to celebrate a wealthy unmarried man's birthday; his sister hopes he'll marry Sonya, the daughter of a selfish gout-ridden old professor who makes life hell for his son George and his young wife, Helen. At the luncheon is Khrushchov, a passionate environmentalist, called "the Wood Demon" by all, who's in love with Sonya and she with him, but neither will admit it.
Two weeks later there's a family meeting at the professor's estate; two weeks after that, a supper at the cabin of Dyadin, who's cheerful to all. George, Helen, Sonya, and Khrushchov are each suffocating. Can any of them take action?
Ian Holm ... Khrushchov
Francesca Annis ... Helen
Ronald Hines ... Voynitsky
Ronald Fraser ... Serebryakov
Donal McCann ... Theodore
Angela Pleasence ... Julia
Cyril Luckham ... Orlovsky
Geoffrey Bayldon ... Dyadin
Vickery Turner ... Sonya
Anthony Douse ... Zheltukhin
Daphne Heard ... Mrs. Voynitsky
Jay Neill ... Vasily
Directed by Donald McWhinnie
Translation & Dramatisation by Ronald Hingley
First broadcast BBC1 in November 1974

Uncle Vanya
When Vanya's brother-in-law declares his intention to sell the family's house, polite facades begin to crumble and long repressed feelings start to emerge with devastating consequences.
David Warner ... Vanya
Ian Holm ... Astrov
Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio ... Yelena
Ian Bannen ... Prof. Serebryakov
Rebecca Pidgeon ... Sonya
Rachel Kempson ... Mariya Vasilyevna
Sandra Voe ... Nanny
Roger Hammond ... Waffles
Jimmy Flint ... Workman
James Warrior ... Workman
Dramatised by David Mamet
Directed by Gregory Mosher
First broadcast BBC1 in October 1991

  1. Wild Honey (103.9Mb)
  2. The Seagull (82.2Mb)
  3. The Cherry Orchard (78.3Mb)
  4. Three Sisters (115.9Mb)
  5. Ivanov (98.7Mb)
  6. The Wood Demon (99.7Mb)
  7. Uncle Vanya (109.3Mb)

MP3 files hosted by archive.org.