H.E. Bates: A BBC Radio Collection: Dramatisations and Readings including Fair Stood the Wind for France, Love for Lydia & More

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
May 2024
8 hours 5 minutes
Selected Dramatisations and readings of the genre-spanning work of HE Bates

'A great treasure trove to dive into' Entertainment Focus

HE Bates is probably best known for his comic novel The Darling Buds of May, which introduced the lovable Larkins to the world and sparked three hugely popular TV adaptations. In his 68 years, Bates wrote over 20 further novels, more than 300 short stories, children’s books, poems, plays and non-fiction. This collection brings together three full-cast BBC Radio dramatisations and fourteen excellent readings, rounding off with extracts from HE Bates autobiographies.

His wartime bestseller Fair Stood the Wind for France is a classic tale of danger, suspense and romance, centred around a British aircrew who ditch in Occupied France, and their attempts to survive and escape. This BBC radio dramatisation stars Rory Kinnear, Tom Goodman-Hill and Louise Brealey. Adapted from HE Bates’ semi-autobiographical 1952 novel, Love for Lydia charts the romance between a young reporter and a shy heiress. Tim Pigott-Smith and Juliet Aubrey star in this moving story of first love. Death of a Huntsman, based on Bates’ 1957 novella, is a vintage radio drama about a middle-aged businessman who finds himself strangely drawn to his ex-lover’s daughter. It stars Roger Delgado and Pauline Letts.

Described by Graham Greene as ‘the English Chekhov’, HE Bates was much acclaimed for his short fiction. Included here are 14 of his best tales, beginning with five stories taken from his 1957 collection Sugar for the Horse. Featuring his much-loved character Uncle Silas, they include ‘The Widder’, ‘The Blue Feather’, ‘Queenie White’, ‘The Singing Pig’ and ‘Aunt Tibby’. They are read by David Neal, who also reads six more bucolic tales: ‘Time’, ‘Chaff in the Wind’, ‘The Maker of Coffins’, ‘The Cowslip Field’, ‘Loss of Pride’ and ‘Great Uncle Crow’. A further three stories, ‘The Primrose Place’, ‘The Small Portion’ and ‘The Sun of December’, are read by Kim Hicks, John Rowe and Anthony Hyde.

Contents, cast and credits
Written by HE Bates

Fair Stood the Wind for France
Cast: Rory Kinnear, Louise Brealey, Ellie Haddington, Bruce Alexander, Kenneth Collard, Tom Goodman-Hill, Kate Layden, Kenneth Collard, John Biggins, Rhys Jennings and Piers Wehner

Love for Lydia
Cast: Tim Pigott-Smith, Jordan Frieda, Juliet Aubrey, Margaret Tyzack, Angela Thorne, Philip Fox, Jamie Bamber, Robert Purdy, Don McCorkindale, Clare Corbett, Crispin Bonham-Carter, Helena Breck, Joanna David, Tom Mannion, Isabelle Joss, Tracy Wiles, Ray Lonnen, Helen Longworth, Ndidi Del Fatti, Tom Calder

Death of a Huntsman
Cast: Eric Anderson, John Ruddock, Hugh Manning, James Thomason, Kathleen Helme, Sheila Grant, Joan Sanderson

Sugar for the Horse:
‘The Widder’, ‘The Blue Feather’, ‘Queenie White’, ‘The Singing Pig’ and ‘Aunt Tibby’ read by David Neal

Country Stories:
‘Time’, ‘Chaff in the Wind’ and ‘The Maker of Coffins’, ‘The Cowslip Field’, ‘Great Uncle Crow’ and ‘Loss of Pride’ read by David Neal

‘The Primrose Place’ read by Kim Hicks

‘The Small Portion’ read by John Rowe

‘The Sun of December’ read by Anthony Hyde
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