BBC Radio adaptations of Anthony Hope’s famous swashbuckling adventure novel and its sequel.

Anthony Hope’s swashbuckling historical novel The Prisoner of Zenda was first published in 1894 and was an instant hit, spawning an 1898 sequel, Rupert of Hentzau, and launching the Ruritanian romance genre. Included here are the radio dramatisations of both thrilling novels, starring Julian Glover as Rudolf Rassendyll and King Rudolf, Martin Jarvis as Rupert of Hentzau and Hannah Gordon as Flavia.

The Prisoner of Zenda – On holiday in the East European province of Ruritania, English gentleman Rudolf Rassendyll is caught up in a web of subterfuge. When his distant cousin, King Rudolf, is drugged on the eve of his coronation, Rassendyll is persuaded to impersonate him at the ceremony, thereby thwarting Rudolf’s half-brother’s attempts to seize the throne. But as the doppelganger is crowned, the real King is kidnapped and imprisoned. To save him, Rassendyll is forced to continue the deception: and finds himself falling in love with the King’s intended bride, Princess Flavia….

Rupert of Hentzau – Three years on from his Ruritanian adventures, Rudolf Rassendyll is living in voluntary exile, separated from his beloved Flavia since her marriage to the King. His only consolation is the annual red rose she sends him, as a token of love and remembrance. But now, instead of a flower, she has sent a letter and this incriminating missive has been intercepted by the dastardly Rupert of Hentzau. The repercussions will bring Rassendyll face-to-face with his old foe, as he is embroiled once more in danger and intrigue.

First published 1894 (The Prisoner of Zenda) and 1898 (Rupert of Hentzau).