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Publisher's Summary

Ronald Pickup, Paul Ritter and Kate Duchêne star in Nick Warburton’s comedy about one community’s attempts to resist change.

When Richard and Clare Wells inherit a clifftop house in Yorkshire, they also inherit a sitting tenant, John Hector, who treats their home as his own and the local town as his own personal fiefdom. But the sea is eroding the land, and John is intent on stopping them all from being evicted, so the Wells reluctantly embrace him as an ally. As he entangles them in his conservation battles, Clare and Richard find themselves drawn into the Breck Howe Preservation Society, an unlikely group attempting to defend their town against the worst ills of modernity. Their lives will never be the same again....

North meets South in this comedic clash of cultures, written by award-winning dramatist Nick Warburton. Ronald Pickup stars as John Hector, with Paul Ritter as Richard and Kate Duchêne as Clare.

Directed by Sally Avens.

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 28 January 2016 (The Vauxgarth Pig), 11-25 August 2017 (Series 1), 16 November-14 December 2018 (Series 2).


Richard Wells - Paul Ritter

Clare Wells - Kate Duchêne

John Hector - Ronald Pickup

Lux - Michelle Asante

Penrith - Chris Pavlo

Trafford/Hugh - Gerard McDermott

Mrs Cardabbon - Susan James

Estate Agent - Caolan McCarthy

Ticket Lady - Kerry Gooderson

Guard - Bob Blythe

Tiffany - Louise Brealey

Librarian - Chetna Pandya/Liam Lau Fernandez

Mrs Briggs of Events - Sanchia McCormack/Elizabeth Counsell

Headley - Philip Fox

Norwegian Herring Enthusiast - Simon Ludders

Ralph Bell - Sean Murray

MC/Trevor Butt - Tony Turner

Robust Betty - Emma Handy

Rude Girl/Brandi - Saffron Coomber

Barb/WPC - Jeannette Percival

Mikey/Surly Reader/Tourist - Cameron Percival

Chucker/A Heavy - Don Gilet

Anthony/Wayne/Seasider - Lewis Bray

Himself - Jonathan Agnew

©2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2020 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Holding Back the Tide

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  • Hes
  • 06-01-20

Absolutely lovely

Listened to this with my 10 year old daughter & we both really enjoyed the gentle humour & the gentle stories. Such a shame there were only two series made.

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  • Spangler
  • 07-19-21

An absolute delight!

This is a truly delightful radio drama filled with funny and eccentric characters. All the actors are fantastic and add so much to the overall lighthearted feel of this comedy drama. I absolutely loved it and listen to it often. Please audible can you purchase the final series.

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  • Neil M.
  • 10-08-20


if you want an easy listening light heart book were nobody dies....
then this is the book for you.