The Barchester Chronicles. By Anthony Trollope. Anthony Trollope worked as a Post Office Inspector when he began writing his earliest novels, occasionally dipping into the “lost-letter” box for ideas. He left the Post Office in 1867, and after failing in a bid for election to Parliament as a Liberal candidate in 1868, he concentrated entirely on his literary career. Some people say that he was notoriously incompetent whilst others hail him as the genius who invented the red pillar box, but whatever the truth he was sent to Salisbury to inspect the mail delivery service when he got the idea for his first successful novel ‘The Warden’ -the first of six novels set in Barsetshire and often collectively referred to as the ‘Chronicles of Barsetshire’. These usually dealt with the clergy and in 1855 this was something of a newsworthy story.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Warden Part 1 Juliet Aubrey and Douglas Hodge star in the first episode of The Warden, with Alec McCowen. We are introduced to Mr Harding, his daughter Eleanor and Trollope’s intrepid Archdeacon, Dr Grantly.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Warden Part 2 Eleanor is torn between her loyalty for her father and her love for John Bold.
The Barchester Chronicles: Barchester Towers Part 1 The new Bishop of Barchester is appointed and arrives together with his redoubtable wife, Mrs Proudie and his odious chaplain, Mr Slope. Together they antagonise Mr Harding and the Archdeacon.
The Barchester Chronicles: Barchester Towers Part 2 Eleanor Bold is caught up in the machinations of Mr Slope, as he attempts to manipulate the situation to his own advantage.
The Barchester Chronicles: Barchester Towers Part 3 Slope is determined to win the hand of EleanorBold, to the horror of the Archdeacon. With Juliet Aubrey, Simon Russell Beale and Rosemary Leach.
The Barchester Chronicles: Dr Thorne Part 1 We are introduced to Dr Thorne, his niece Mary, Frank Gresham, his family and the railway magnate Sir Roger Scatcherd.
The Barchester Chronicles: Dr Thorne Part 2 Mary is banished from the Gresham household, as Frank’s mother attempts to force him to ‘marry money’.
The Barchester Chronicles: Dr Thorne Part 3 Mary learns the truth about her birth, and Frank remains true to her, despite his mother’s efforts.
The Barchester Chronicles: Framley Parsonage Part 1 We meet the independently minded Vicar of Framley, Mark Robarts, and his patroness, Lady Lufton.
The Barchester Chronicles: Framley Parsonage Part 2 Mark Robarts independent spirit leads him into trouble, and possible ruin.
The Barchester Chronicles: Framley Parsonage Part 3 Mark Robarts faces the reality of ruin, and Lucy faces that of her love for Lord Lufton. The Small House at
The Barchester Chronicles: Allington Part 1 We are introduced to Lily Dale and her dashing lover Adolphus Crosbie.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Small House at Allington Part 2 After staying in Allington for several weeks, Adolphus departs for Courcy Castle.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Small House at Allington Part 3 Adolphus breaks his engagement to Lily, and becomes engaged to Lady Alexandrina de Courcy.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Small House at Allington Part 4 Adolphus’ marriage is unhappy, Lily remains steadfast in her love for him.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Last Chronicle of Barset Part 1 Josiah Crawley, the curate of Hogglestock is accused of stealing a cheque for £20, a charge against which he does not know how to defend himself.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Last Chronicle of Barset Part 2 Mrs Proudie is determined to have Mr Crawley expelled from his pulpit, whilst Major Grantly proposes marriage to Grace Crawley, despite her father’s difficulties.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Last Chronicle of Barset Part 3 Johnny Eames once more offers his hand to Lily Dale, whilst in London Conway Dalrymple is painting a portrait of Clara Van Siever in secret.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Last Chronicle of Barset Part 4 Mr Toogood takes on Mr Crawley’s case, and Johnny Eames sets off to find the Dean of Barchester and his wife who have been abroad since the start of Mr Crawley’s troubles.
The Barchester Chronicles: The Last Chronicle of Barset Part 5 The mystery of the cheque is cleared up, Major Grantly marries Grace Crawley, and we take our leave of Trollope’s much loved imaginary county of Barsetshire.
This Happy Breed. By Noël Coward. The story of the play concerns the working class Gibbons family between the end of World War I and the outbreak of World War II. It anticipates the non-violent ways in which social justice issues might be incorporated into post-war national reconstruction, examines the personal trauma caused by the sudden death of sons and daughters and anticipates the forthcoming return of English men from the war. It is also an intimate portrait of the economy and politics of Great Britain in the 1920s and 30s (such as the General Strike of 1926), as well as showing the advances in technology – the arrival crystal radio sets and telephones, home gas lights being replaced by electricity and mass broadcast radio.
Weir of Hermiston is an unfinished novel by Robert Louis Stevenson and many have considered it his masterpiece. It was cut short by Stevenson’s sudden death. The novel tells the story of Archie Weir, a youth born into an upper-class Edinburgh family. Because of his Romantic sensibilities and sensitivity, Archie is estranged from his father, who is depicted as the coarse and cruel judge of a criminal court. By mutual consent, Archie is banished from his family of origin and sent to live as the local laird on a family property in the vicinity of Hermiston. While serving as the laird, Archie meets and falls in love with Kirstie (Christina).
Solaris. Hattie Naylor’s dramatisation of Stansilaw Lem’s modern sci-fi classic. Psychologist Kris has been sent on a mission to find out what has gone wrong on a distant space exploration station. On arrival, he finds the ship deserted apart from two scientists, both seemingly deranged. He wakes next day to find his long dead young wife Rheya, sitting at the end of his bed.
The Cry of the Owl. By Patricia Highsmith. Robert Forester, a troubled young man, retreats from the big city and his oppresive ex-wife for the tranquility of a small town. He is drawn into a relationship with a young woman whose boyfriend goes missing, leaving the new arrival as a suspect.
Anna Karenina. Dramatisation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel. Faith is challenged, bonds are broken, love dies and is reborn. Originally published in serial form between 1873 and 1877, the novel is set in the glamorous world of the aristocracy in nineteenth century Russia. It is the tale of a woman who is asked to help save a struggling marriage. When she arrives to help her sister’s family, Anna Karenina, a respectable married woman, is introduced to a web of intrigue, passion, and transgression. One of Tolstoy’s most famous works, Anna Karenina is a dramatic chronicling of the life of a family as it comes together, falls apart, and as its members discover and redefine themselves.
Piper Alpha. By Stephen Phelps. On 6 July 1988, a North Sea oil rig was destroyed by a series of explosions and a massive fire, resulting in the death of 167 men. Based on Lord Cullen’s Public Inquiry, the play chronicles the disaster minute-by-minute as it happened.
The Owl Service. By Alan Garner. When Alison traces owls from the pattern on a dinner service, the paper owls disappear and the plates go blank. Mysterious events turn frightening in this classic reworking of the Welsh Blodeuwedd myth.
On the Field 1-3. By Annie Caulfield. Craig has joined the army to get away from football, but somehow the game has followed him all the way to Basra. Has he got what it takes to be a hero?
On the Field 2-3 -Endgame. By Annie Caulfield. The sequel to the comic drama On the Field about British troops in Iraq. Life on the army base in Basra is closing down – they would all rather be in Afghanistan. Terry has got no money, the C.O wants him to sing in a talent contest to boost morale and he has got woman trouble. But he is just about to get his lucky break…
On the Field 3-3 – On Leave. Annie Caulfield’s comedy drama returns with a third episode in the On The Field series. Mahmoud the barber has exchanged Basra for Istanbul where his old friend Sergeant – now Captain – Billy has ended up as Miltary Attache. After witnessing a traumatic attack on duty in Kabul, squaddies Kev and Damon opt for a bit of escapism. Damon fancies himself as a secret agent and is obsessed with James Bond. He persuades his mate to join him in visiting Istanbul’s famous “From Russia With Love” film locations. First stop: Electra King’s house. But they discover they’re not cut out to follow in Bond’s footsteps and Billy and Mahmoud have to pick up the pieces when an unofficial trip to the Basilica Cisterns goes spectacularly wrong. Billy tries to give the soldiers some worldly wisdom to take back to the front: survival skills more useful than anything they’d learn on the parade ground. By turns funny, exciting and poignant, the play gets under the skin of life as a soldier.
Mr Lubys Fear of Heaven. A comedy by John Mortimer. When Lewis Luby comes around late at night in an Italian hospital, he finds himself lying under the monstrous big toe of God. Surely some mistake, for Luby, who has never for one moment believed in the immortality of the soul, cannot possibly be in heaven.
The French Lieutenant’s Woman. By John Fowles. The seaside town of Lyme in 1867 holds two attractions for Charles Smithson: Miss Ernestina Freeman (a draper’s daughter, true, but a wealthy draper’s daughter) and the fine fossils to be found in the rocks about the cliffs. Although Tina’s father doesn’t care for Charles’s veneration of Darwin, he does care for the baronetcy to which he is heir presumptive. So Charles comes to Lyme, where Tina is staying with her aunt and planning for married life. He is content with his two loves until fate engineers a series of meetings with a local curiosity. Sarah Woodruff is known as ‘Tragedy’ in polite circles and ‘The French Lieutenant’s Woman’ in others, and holds the thankless post of companion to Mrs Poulteney. The story around town is that she was a governess seduced and abandoned by a French sailor, who later turned out to be married, and that she haunts the shore watching for his ship to return.