Writer and director David Hare is one of England’s leading political dramatists, celebrated for his many award-winning plays analysing the morality of contemporary Britain. This collection comprises BBC Radio dramatisations of some of his most acclaimed pieces.

It opens with his two acknowledged masterpieces: Plenty and Amy’s View. These mesmerising dramas, both spanning several decades, present vivid portraits of strong women diminished by circumstance, metaphorically evoking the changing values and collapsing ideals of the post-war period. These are followed by Knuckle, a fast-paced parody of the American hardboiled thriller set in the Home Counties; and Pravda, co-written with Howard Brenton, a satirical comedy about a monstrous media tycoon.

Also included are South Downs, the much acclaimed Chichester Festival production of his play brought to radio, plus the play in which Hare made his acting debut: the powerful monologue Via Dolorosa, a meditation on his extraordinary 1997 trip to Israel and Palestine.

Plenty – Susan Traherne returns to Britain haunted by her experiences as a Resistance fighter in Occupied France. Post-war life seems dull, but Susan’s rage against mediocrity and her attempts to find fulfilment not only damage her own life, but alter the lives of those around her.

Amy’s View – The play takes place in Pangbourne and in London, from 1979 to 1995. Over the course of these years, “a running argument about the respective virtues of traditional theatre and the media arts weaves its way through espoused opinions on marriage, love, fame, fidelity, betrayal, personal and artistic integrity, and the sometimes elusive ethics of the corporate world.

Knuckle – It’s the 1920s and Curly Delafield, a young arms merchant, is determined to discover the secret behind the disappearance of his sister Sarah. Delafield’s investigations uncover a web of corruption under the placid setting of Guildford, where his father lives in suspicious circumstances with his housekeeper, Mrs Dunning. Will Delafield unfold the mystery of his sister’s disappearance …. and is his father involved?

Pravda – Lambert Le Roux is a media tycoon of tremendous power. He’s also a monster manipulating all, including Fleet Street.

South Downs – A pin sharp young pupil (an astonishing professional debut from Alex Lawther) is cut off from his fellow boys by virtue of his own intellect, background and questioning spirit. The school, with its unyielding and rigid outlook on life, leaves the boy isolated and confused. In an unlikely meeting with the free-spirited mother of another pupil (Anna Chancellor) her generosity and sound advice offers the boy a world of kindness and possibility.

Via Dolorosa – In the form of a monologue, the play deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict through Hare’s own 1997 journey through Israel and Palestine, and the 33 people whom he met. He describes the extremism he found, between warring political-philosophical-religious diehards within each populace, Israeli and Palestinian alike: ‘people who seek religious justification for excessive behaviour on either side’.