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Publisher's Summary

13 of the finest works by the world-renowned playwright, as heard on BBC radio.

Sir Terence Rattigan was one of Britain's greatest playwrights, renowned for his well-crafted dramas of upper-class manners and repressed sexuality. He was hugely popular throughout the 1940s and early '50s, and had the rare distinction of having plays running in three West End theatres simultaneously. Having fallen out of fashion in the '60s, his work is now enjoying a huge revival. Included here are some of his most esteemed plays, adapted for radio and brought together in chronological order in one statement collection.

We begin with the sparkling comedy French Without Tears, introduced by the author himself. Next is one of his most famous plays, The Winslow Boy, the moving story of an innocent boy accused of theft. The Browning Version features a teacher overwhelmed by a schoolboy's unexpected gift; Adventure Story tells the dramatic tale of Alexander the Great and The Final Test, adapted from Rattigan's 1951 television play, tells the comic story of a veteran cricketer's son who prefers music and poetry to cricket.

The Deep Blue Sea centres around the troubled relationship of Hester and Freddie, who need each other, but are worlds apart. In Separate Tables, a radio version of the classic stage play set in the 1950s, a small group of residents at a Bournemouth hotel discover one of them harbours a devastating secret. Variation on a Theme is a reworking of Alexander Dumas' classic 19th-century novel La Dame aux Camélias; Ross explores the enigmatic life of T.E. Lawrence and Man and Boy focuses on a fraudulent financier who, with his worldwide empire facing collapse, flees to the New York apartment of his estranged son.

Also featured are A Bequest to the Nation, a dramatised account of the Battle of Trafalgar and Lord Nelson's affair with Emma Hamilton, and In Praise of Love, inspired by the relationship between Rattigan's friend, the actor Rex Harrison, and his wife Kay Kendall. Last up is Rattigan's final play, Cause Célèbre, based on the story of Alma Rattenbury, who went on trial with her teenage lover for the murder of her husband. And in two bonus documentaries, Kaleidoscope: Terence Rattigan and Conversations with Terence Rattigan, the great author discusses his life, work and influence.

Among the array of stars in these enthralling dramas are John Gielgud, Alan Bates, Diana Dors, Siân Phillips, Anna Massey, Amanda Root, Peter Sallis, Nerys Hughes, Michael Williams, Saeed Jaffrey, Mary Wimbush and Carleton Hobbs.

Please note: this collection contains language that reflects the attitudes of the era in which the plays were written.

Production credits:

Written by Terence Rattigan.

First published in 1936 (French without Tears), 1942 (While the Sun Shines),1946 (The Winslow Boy), 1948 (The Browning Version), 1949 (Adventure Story), 1951 (The Final Test), 1952 (The Deep Blue Sea), 1954 (Separate Tables), 1958 (Variation on a Theme), 1960 (Ross), 1963 (Man and Boy), 1970 (A Bequest to the Nation), 1973 (In Praise of Love), and 1977 (Cause Célèbre).

Contents list:

  • French without Tears, introduction by Terence Rattigan
  • The Winslow Boy
  • The Browning Version
  • Adventure Story
  • The Final Test
  • Deep Blue Sea
  • Separate Tables
  • Variation on a Theme
  • Ross
  • Man and Boy
  • A Bequest to the Nation
  • In Praise of Love
  • Cause Célèbre
  • Kaleidoscope: Terence Rattigan, presented by Christopher Matthew with Terence Rattigan.
  • Conversations with Terence Rattigan
©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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