from the novels of John Galsworthy
Dramatised for radio by Shaun McKenna
Of all his beautiful possessions, wealthy solicitor Soames Forsyte considers his wife, Irene, the most beautiful.
Why then does she want separate bedrooms?
Original music composed by Neil Brand
Produced and directed by Marion Nancarrow
Over the next 2 years, BBC Radio 4 is broadcasting a new dramatisation of all 9 books in John Galsworthy's The Forsyte Saga. An epic tale of sex, money and power in the lives of an upper middle-class family in London, it spans 50 years from 1886 to 1936.
We begin today with a 90 minute drama which introduces us to the family in 1886 and in particular to the cautious, meticulous Soames Forsyte, of whom Galsworthy says "he would not have gone without a bath for worlds". As the family gathers in their huge London houses around the Green Park and at what's known as "Forsyte Exchange", they can establish the precise stock of any family member, "who's up, who's down and who might be heading for a fall". But little do they realise in their comfortable, complacent lives how the old world order is changing. Young June Forsyte has fallen in love with the dashing and unorthodox architect, Philip Bosinney. But when she introduces him to her sister-in-law - Soames's wife Irene - scandal is waiting just around the corner.
The story continues every day this week in the 15 Minute Drama slot and concludes in the Saturday Drama at 1430.
Award-winning writers Shaun McKenna and Lin Coghlan are dramatising the complete novels and Interludes and have taken a new approach to the books - delving deeper behind the Edwardian façade to bring more of Galsworthy's wonderful insight, wit and observation from the page. Although focussed on the period in which they were written - in the first 20 years of the 20th century - the novels feel remarkably contemporary and have much to reveal of our own world and inner lives.
Jessica Raine (Call the Midwife, Jericho) takes a central role as narrator, with Juliet Aubrey playing Irene and Joseph Millson, Soames. Later in the series they are joined by Jonathan Bailey, Max Bennett and Ben Lambert.
This first 90' drama comprises most of the first novel "The Man of Property".
The Producers are Marion Nancarrow and Gemma Jenkins.
And you can hear the next 2 novels in the Saga - "The Forsytes Continue" - in April.