Harold Pinter was born in London in 1930. His writing career spanned over 50 years in which he produced 29 original stage plays, 27 screenplays, many dramatic sketches, radio and TV plays, poetry, one novel, short fiction, essays, speeches and letters. He appeared as an actor in productions of his own work on radio and film, and directed nearly 50 productions for stage, theatre and screen. In 2006 he was awarded the Europe Theatre Prize and, in 2007, the highest French honour, the Légion d’Honneur.

Presented here is a selection of Pinter’s best works, broadcast by BBC Radio across 6 decades. The plays feature such notable actors as David Warner, Michael Gambon, Harriet Walter, Simon Russell Beale, Olivia Colman, Jeremy Irons, Anne Reid, Andrew Scott, Peggy Ashcroft, Penelope Wilton, Olivia Williams, Mark Strong and Harold Pinter.

A Kind of Alaska – A middle-aged woman named Deborah, who has been in a comatose state for 29 years awakes with a mind still that of a sixteen-year-old. She must confront a body which has aged without her knowledge or consent, and a brother-in-law who has fallen in love with her.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2015

A Night Out – Why should Albert think of going out when his mother looks after him so well and has such a nice supper for him? It’s something his mother will never understand to her dying day.
First broadcast on BBC Third Programme in March 1960

A Slight Ache – In the week celebrating his 70th birthday, Harold Pinter starred in a new production of his classic radio play from 1959.
During a single day, the safety of the study, scullery and garden is endangered by the appearance of a match seller at the garden gate in this comedy of menace.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in October 2000

Ashes to Ashes – A man interrogates a woman about her lover and involvement in wartime atrocities. The woman is haunted by appalling memories: genocide, deportation, and most disturbingly, a tenderly recalled masochistic-erotic relationship with a modern Herod-like infanticide.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in November 2015

Betrayal – A drama about a love affair and the intricate nature of deceit, which is told in reverse time from its poignant ending to its thrilling first kiss.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 2012

The Birthday Party – Stanley Webber, a piano player, lives in a rundown boarding house run by Meg and Petey Boles, in an English seaside town, “probably on the south coast, not too far from London”. Two sinister strangers, Goldberg and McCann, arrive on Stanley’s birthday and appear to have come looking for him. They turn the innocuous birthday party organized by Meg into a nightmare.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in July 1970

The Caretaker – Two brothers shelter an elderly, homeless man after a fight in a café. But his problems are far from over.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in November 2010

The Dreaming Child – It’s Bristol in 1868 and Emily, married to wealthy Tom Carter, is haunted by her passionate first love affair with a young soldier who subsequently died at sea. Seven years later, and unable to have children, the couple decide to adopt a boy from the slum. Jack, however, is not an ordinary child and seems to already know everything about his new home and family.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 2015

The Examination – A chilling yet playful monologue in which a man about to be questioned summons up every mental resource to empower himself over his interrogator.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2009

Family Voices – A series of parallel monologues between a mother and son in the form of letters written but probably never mailed, in which the facade of a happy family gradually disintegrates into a cauldron of recrimination.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 1981

Landscape – A middle aged couple, housekeeper and chauffeur sit in the huge bare kitchen of a country house pursuing their own thoughts aloud in a ghastly semblance of conversation. While the man’s thoughts are of his day in the park and a quarrel in the pub, the woman’s are of an idyllic day spent many years ago on a beach with the man she loved.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in January 2009

Last to Go – At a coffee stall, the attendant and an old newspaper seller chat idly about a variety of pointless topics which probably mean little to either of them.
First broadcast on BBC Third Programme in May 1964

Moonlight – Andy is a man on his death bed – but where is his loving family?
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in February 2009

Mountain Language – A prison is controlled by unnamed guards in an unnamed country. The guards ban the prisoners’ native language as they incarcerate them for unnamed crimes against the State.
First broadcast on BBC World Service in November 2007

Old Times – In a remote farmhouse, Deeley and Kate await a visitor. Anna is Kate’s best friend, though Deeley has never met her. Is the past really as they remember it?
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2014

Victory – Baron Heyst is a mysterious Swedish recluse living alone on a deserted island in the Dutch East Indies in 1900. His life is changed forever when he visits a neighbouring island and falls in love with young English violinist, Lena. Pursued by predatory older men, Lena is drawn to Heyst and escapes with him to his island retreat.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 3 in January 2014