Biographical Dramas

The first of four dramas featuring episodes in the life of Eric Blair.

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01The Real George Orwell20130128

By Mike Walker

After an undistinguished academic career at Eton, Eric leaves in December 1921. Unlike most of his friends, his parents can't afford to send him to University. When the girl he hopes to marry rejects him, he sets sail for Burma to join the colonial police. His experiences in Burma will affect him profoundly. They will give him material for essays such as 'A Hanging' and 'Shooting An Elephant', and his first novel, 'Burmese Days' - and they will begin to shape his political thinking. When he rejects the Empire and returns to England, Blair begins to spend more and more time with the poor.

Eric Blair... Joseph Millson

Jacintha Buddicom... Sophie Roberts

Wilson... Joseph Kloska

Inspector d'Souza... Ernest Ignatius

Burmese youth... Armaan Kirmani

Man on Train... Derek Riddell

Ted... Alun Raglan

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

01The Real George Orwell20130128

By Mike Walker

After an undistinguished academic career at Eton, Eric leaves in December 1921. Unlike most of his friends, his parents can't afford to send him to University. When the girl he hopes to marry rejects him, he sets sail for Burma to join the colonial police. His experiences in Burma will affect him profoundly. They will give him material for essays such as 'A Hanging' and 'Shooting An Elephant', and his first novel, 'Burmese Days' - and they will begin to shape his political thinking. When he rejects the Empire and returns to England, Blair begins to spend more and more time with the poor.

Eric Blair... Joseph Millson

Jacintha Buddicom... Sophie Roberts

Wilson... Joseph Kloska

Inspector d'Souza... Ernest Ignatius

Burmese youth... Armaan Kirmani

Man on Train... Derek Riddell

Ted... Alun Raglan

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

02Dreaming20130204

By Mike Walker

In September 1938, Eric and Eileen Blair leave London for Marrakech. He is hoping that the climate will be good for his health, and that he will be able to complete 'Coming Up for Air' a novel that examines, among other things, the nature of England. But the bruising reception he received following the publication of Homage to Catalonia is troubling Eric. And both Eric and Eileen are still feeling guilty about the fate of one of their Spanish Civil War comrades, Georges Kopp. In the summer of 1938 Kopp had just been released from prison. In Marrakech, Eileen falls ill, and Eric dreams of England, and of Kopp.

Directed by Jeremy Mortimer

Of course there is no real George Orwell - it was the pen name of Eric Blair - but he was a writer and political commentator who is very hard to pin down. Ever since his early death in 1950, he has been at one and the same time the darling of some on both the left and the right of British politics - whilst being reviled by others. For all the beautiful simplicity of his writing and storytelling Orwell/Blair is a complex mass of confusions - an anti-establishment, pro-English, ex-Etonian ex-policeman and socialist, who was ardently anti-authoritarian. He was as anti-fascist as he was anti-communist, a former Spanish Civil War soldier who was anti-war but pro the Second World War, and so on and so on.

Through dramatisations of the key books, through four newly commissioned plays that explore the disjuncture between the man who was Eric Blair and the writer who was George Orwell, and through factual programming and readings, Radio 4 will take you on a journey from Burma via Catalonia, Wigan, Jura, Manor Farm along the road that led to Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century.

02Dreaming20130204

By Mike Walker

In September 1938, Eric and Eileen Blair leave London for Marrakech. He is hoping that the climate will be good for his health, and that he will be able to complete 'Coming Up for Air' a novel that examines, among other things, the nature of England. But the bruising reception he received following the publication of Homage to Catalonia is troubling Eric. And both Eric and Eileen are still feeling guilty about the fate of one of their Spanish Civil War comrades, Georges Kopp. In the summer of 1938 Kopp had just been released from prison. In Marrakech, Eileen falls ill, and Eric dreams of England, and of Kopp.

Directed by Jeremy Mortimer

Of course there is no real George Orwell - it was the pen name of Eric Blair - but he was a writer and political commentator who is very hard to pin down. Ever since his early death in 1950, he has been at one and the same time the darling of some on both the left and the right of British politics - whilst being reviled by others. For all the beautiful simplicity of his writing and storytelling Orwell/Blair is a complex mass of confusions - an anti-establishment, pro-English, ex-Etonian ex-policeman and socialist, who was ardently anti-authoritarian. He was as anti-fascist as he was anti-communist, a former Spanish Civil War soldier who was anti-war but pro the Second World War, and so on and so on.

Through dramatisations of the key books, through four newly commissioned plays that explore the disjuncture between the man who was Eric Blair and the writer who was George Orwell, and through factual programming and readings, Radio 4 will take you on a journey from Burma via Catalonia, Wigan, Jura, Manor Farm along the road that led to Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century.

03Loving20130211

By Jonathan Holloway

Eric Blair's relationship with the opposite sex could be a distraught one; over the course of his lifetime, he made several awkward marriage proposals to different women. But his relationship with Eileen O'Shaugnessy, whom he married in 1935, had a huge influence both on his life and his writing. This drama explores the nine years of their relationship.

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

03Loving20130211

By Jonathan Holloway

Eric Blair's relationship with the opposite sex could be a distraught one; over the course of his lifetime, he made several awkward marriage proposals to different women. But his relationship with Eileen O'Shaugnessy, whom he married in 1935, had a huge influence both on his life and his writing. This drama explores the nine years of their relationship.

A BBC/Cymru Wales production, directed by Kate McAll.

04 LASTJura20130218

By Jonathan Holloway

In 1947, the year after Eileen's death, Eric leaves London and moves to Jura, with his sister Avril, and his three year old son. He is suffering from tuberculosis but is determined to try and make a go of living off the land. But most of all he is determined to finish Nineteen Eighty-Four, his final book.

Of course there is no real George Orwell - it was the pen name of Eric Blair - but he was a writer and political commentator who is very hard to pin down. Ever since his early death in 1950, he has been at one and the same time the darling of some on both the left and the right of British politics - whilst being reviled by others. For all the beautiful simplicity of his writing and storytelling Orwell/Blair is a complex mass of confusions - an anti-establishment, pro-English, ex-Etonian ex-policeman and socialist, who was ardently anti-authoritarian. He was as anti-fascist as he was anti-communist, a former Spanish Civil War soldier who was anti-war but pro the Second World War, and so on and so on.

Through dramatisations of the key books, through four newly commissioned plays that explore the disjuncture between the man who was Eric Blair and the writer who was George Orwell, and through factual programming and readings, Radio 4 will take you on a journey from Burma via Catalonia, Wigan, Jura, Manor Farm along the road that led to Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century.

04 LASTJura20130218

By Jonathan Holloway

In 1947, the year after Eileen's death, Eric leaves London and moves to Jura, with his sister Avril, and his three year old son. He is suffering from tuberculosis but is determined to try and make a go of living off the land. But most of all he is determined to finish Nineteen Eighty-Four, his final book.

Of course there is no real George Orwell - it was the pen name of Eric Blair - but he was a writer and political commentator who is very hard to pin down. Ever since his early death in 1950, he has been at one and the same time the darling of some on both the left and the right of British politics - whilst being reviled by others. For all the beautiful simplicity of his writing and storytelling Orwell/Blair is a complex mass of confusions - an anti-establishment, pro-English, ex-Etonian ex-policeman and socialist, who was ardently anti-authoritarian. He was as anti-fascist as he was anti-communist, a former Spanish Civil War soldier who was anti-war but pro the Second World War, and so on and so on.

Through dramatisations of the key books, through four newly commissioned plays that explore the disjuncture between the man who was Eric Blair and the writer who was George Orwell, and through factual programming and readings, Radio 4 will take you on a journey from Burma via Catalonia, Wigan, Jura, Manor Farm along the road that led to Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century.