John Hurt narrates John Fowles' tale of forbidden passions in Victorian Dorset.
Published in 1969, The French Lieutenant’s Woman was John Fowles’ third novel and explores the relationship between gentleman naturalist Charles Smithson and former governess Sarah Woodruff. Fowles’ expertise in Victorian matters resulted in a novel that remains both respected and popular to this day.
John Hurt plays The Narrator and beautifully sets up the action, which begins in Lyme Regis in March 1867. Charles Smithson is played by Jonathan Firth, who calls upon his previous experience from having starring roles in television productions of Wuthering Heights, Middlemarch and Far From the Madding Crowd. The ‘scarlet woman’, Sarah Woodruff, is portrayed by the versatile Emily Bruni, who has appeared in Peep Show and as Catherine the Great in in the 2005 TV movie.
In this first episode of two, Charles Smithson’s complacent snobbery is shattered when he encounters a social outcast, The French Lieutenant’s Woman, or ‘whore’ as the locals would describe her.
Dramatised for radio by Graham White and directed by Peter Kavanagh.
First broadcast on Radio 4 in 2006
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