A collection of BBC Radio dramatisations of Elizabeth Gaskell’s well loved novels – plus bonus material.

Elizabeth Gaskell was one of Victorian England’s pre-eminent female novelists. Admired by Charles Dickens, who described her as his ‘dear Scheherazade’, she mingled storytelling and social realism to superb effect in her highly acclaimed fiction.

This comprehensive collection comprises dramas and readings of her finest works and some lesser-known pieces. Among the adaptations are her final, unfinished novel Wives and Daughters, her debut novel Mary Barton and her only historical novel, Sylvia’s Lovers; as well as the 1851 novella Mr Harrison’s Confession (a prequel to Cranford), and her great novel of industrialisation, female independence and identity, North and South. All feature star casts including Emerald O’Hanrahan, Sue Johnston, Jodie Comer, Emily Mortimer, Rod Hudd, David Threlfall and Julian Rhind-Tutt.

Also included are readings of Mrs Gaskell’s chilling supernatural tale ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’, her much-loved novel of life in a small town and its female inhabitants, Cranford and her festive short story ‘Christmas Storms and Sunshine’.

Based on true events, Stephen Wakelam’s detective drama Death at the Bed End, starring Kenneth Cranham, explores the controversy surrounding Elizabeth Gaskell’s biography of Charlotte Bronte and the libel threat that followed its publication. Also included are Mrs Gaskell: Portrait of a Victorian Novelist by Barry Campbell; inspired by the authors letters. And in Great Lives: Elizabeth Gaskell, historian Amanda Vickery and biographer Jenny Uglow discuss Mrs Gaskell’s life, work and achievements with presenter Francine Stock.

Mary Barton – Dramatised by Lavinia Murray. Produced and directed by Claire Grove and Tracey Neale. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15th September-9th November 2001

Mr Harrison’s Confessions – Adapted for radio by Jeremy Front. Produced and directed by Sally Avens. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 27th June 1988

‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ – Produced by Kay Patrick. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 24th-25th May 1984

North and South – Dramatised by Charlotte Keatley. Directed by Michael Fox. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29th June 1997

Sylvia’s Lovers – Dramatised by Ellen Dryden. Produced and directed by Pauline Harris. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 6th-13th March 2016

Wives and Daughters – Dramatised by Theresa Heskins. Produced and directed by Peter Leslie Wild. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 29th November-10th December 2010

Cranford – Produced by Julian Wilkinson. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 1st November 2019

‘Christmas Storms and Sunshine’ – Produced by Simon Richardson. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21st December 2018

Death at the Bed End – Written by Stephen Wakelam. Directed by Janet Whitaker. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4th December 2004

Mrs Gaskell: Portrait of a Victorian Novelist – Written by Barry Campbell based on Elizabeth Gaskell: A Biography by Winifred Grin. Permission granted by Oxford Publishing Ltd (Academic), Oxford University Press (via PLSclear). Produced by James Runcie. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21st August 1983

Great Lives: Mrs Gaskell – Presented by Francine Stock. With Amanda Vickery and Jenny Uglow. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 20th May 2005.