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Publisher's Summary

A captivating BBC Radio adaptation of Cervantes' masterpiece, chronicling the adventures of an intrepid knight errant and his faithful squire.

Locked up in jail, Miguel de Cervantes is attempting to start a novel when he is visited by a priest, who tells him about an old man driven insane by chivalric romances and a vision of glory. Inspired, Cervantes takes up his pen and begins to write....

His story begins in La Mancha, where an elderly country gentleman decides to emulate his knightly heroes, Sir Lancelot and El Cid, and embark on a quest to prove his valour. Renaming himself Don Quixote, he puts on his rusty armour, takes up his broadsword, saddles his broken-down horse, Rocinante, and rides out with his loyal squire Sancho Panza to put the world to rights.

Spurred on by thoughts of his lady, the beautiful Dulcinea, he travels the Spanish countryside, charging at giants disguised as windmills, battling evil enchanters dressed as friars and bravely offering to fight a lion. But as his colourful fantasies come up against mundane reality, will the valiant knight be vanquished?

Adapted by award-winning playwright John Arden and narrated by Ronald Baddiley as Cervantes, with Bob Grant as Don Quixote and Bernard Cribbins as Sancho Panza, this magical, metafictional tale, full of comic incidents and stories-within-stories, is at once farcical and heart-breaking.

First published over 400 years ago, Cervantes' classic has been described as the first modern novel. One of the best-selling books of all time, it has been translated into over 100 languages and influenced countless authors including Flaubert, Dostoevsky, Kafka and Borges. Included here is a two-part bonus programme, Masterpiece: Don Quixote, exploring its importance and enduring popularity. Among the contributors are Carlos Fuentes, Ben Okri and Doris Lessing, who voted the book 'the greatest literary work ever written' in a 2002 survey of 100 authors worldwide.

Cast and credits:

Don Quixote

Don Quixote - Bob Grant

Sancho Panza - Bernard Cribbins

Cervantes - Ronald Baddiley

Father Perez - David Sumner

Barber-Surgeon - Peter Wheeler

Housekeeper - Kathleen Helme

Antonia - Kate Lee

Moor - Geoffrey Banks

Innkeeper - Kenneth Alan Taylor

Dorothea - Linda Gardner

Market boy - Alan Parnaby

Sergeant - Alan Meadows

Don Fernando - Simon Molloy

Aldonza - Meg Johnson

Duke - Russell Dixon

Samson - Stephen Boxer

Teresa Panza - Paula Tilbrook

Altisidora - Harriet Walter

Scholar - Malcolm Hebden

Puppet Master - Ken Campbell

Duchess - Judith Arthy

Veiled Lady - Anne Reid

Steward - John McGregor

Other parts played by members of the cast.

Written by Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra

Adapted by John Arden

Directed by Alfred Bradley

Music composed by Stephen Boxer and played by Ian Gammie, Bill Nixon, Jane Ryan, Roderick Skeaping, John Turner and Stephen Boxer

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 5th - 6th October 1980.

Masterpiece: Don Quixote

With contributions from: Geoff West, Jeremy Lawrance, Julian Weiss, Francisco Rico, Andrew Sachs, Francisco Sesto, Adrienne Martin, Anne Cruz, Orson Welles, Edith Grossman, Carlos Fuentes, Ben Okri and Doris Lessing.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15th - 22nd August 2005.

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

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