Wilkie Collins

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0120120227

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins. From his childhood as the son of an artist, to his struggles to become a writer, and his life-long friendship with Charles Dickens.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins

0120120227

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins. From his childhood as the son of an artist, to his struggles to become a writer, and his life-long friendship with Charles Dickens.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins

0120120227

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins. From his childhood as the son of an artist, to his struggles to become a writer, and his life-long friendship with Charles Dickens.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins.

0120120228

Peter Ackroyd charts the life of Wilkie Collins.

0220120228

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir to celebrate his life.

in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir.

0220120228

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir to celebrate his life.

in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir.

0220120228

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir to celebrate his life.

in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir.

0220120229

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir.

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Following the death of his beloved father William, Wilkie embarks on a memoir to celebrate his life.

in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0320120229

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances and, little does he know, she will become a close companion for the rest of his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances.

0320120229

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances and, little does he know, she will become a close companion for the rest of his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances.

0320120229

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances and, little does he know, she will become a close companion for the rest of his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances.

0320120301

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances.

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

Wilkie meets Caroline Graves in unusual circumstances and, little does he know, she will become a close companion for the rest of his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0420120301

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

0420120301

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

0420120301

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

0420120302

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

0420120302

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

0420120302

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

By 1863, Wilkie Collins has found great literary success with works including The Woman in White. And soon another woman enters his life.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier.

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

After Collins finds success with The Woman in White, another woman enters his life.

05 LAST20120302

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

His first child with Martha Rudd is born, Caroline Graves returns to Gloucester Place and Wilkie Collins' great friend and collaborator, Charles Dickens, dies.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Wilkie's first child with Martha Rudd is born and Caroline returns to Gloucester Place.

05 LAST20120302

Written by Peter Ackroyd.

Read by Michael Pennington.

His first child with Martha Rudd is born, Caroline Graves returns to Gloucester Place and Wilkie Collins' great friend and collaborator, Charles Dickens, dies.

Short and oddly built, with a head too big for his body, extremely short-sighted, unable to stay still, dressed in colourful clothes, 'as if playing a certain part in the great general drama of life' Wilkie Collins looked distinctly strange. But he was none the less a charmer, befriended by the great, loved by children, irresistibly attractive to women - and avidly read by generations of readers.

Peter Ackroyd follows his hero, 'the sweetest-tempered of all the Victorian novelists', from his childhood as the son of a well-known artist to his struggling beginnings as writer, his years of fame and his life-long friendship with the other great London chronicler, Charles Dickens. A true Londoner, Collins, like Dickens, was fascinated by the secrets and crimes -- the fraud, blackmail and poisonings - that lay hidden behind the city's respectable facade. He was a fighter, never afraid to point out injustices and shams, or to tackle the establishment head on.

As well as his enduring masterpieces, "The Moonstone" - often called the first true detective novel - and the sensational "Women in White," he produced an intriguing array of lesser known works. But Collins had his own secrets: he never married, but lived for thirty years with the widowed Caroline Graves, and also had a second liaison, as 'Mr and Mrs Dawson', with a younger mistress, Martha Rudd, with whom he had three children. Both women remained devoted as illness and opium-taking took their toll: he died in 1889, in the middle of writing his last novel - Blind Love.

Told with Peter Ackroyd's inimitable verve this is a ravishingly entertaining life of a great story-teller, full of surprises, rich in humour and sympathetic understanding.

Abridged by Libby Spurrier

Producer: Joanna Green

A Pier production for BBC Radio 4.

Wilkie's first child with Martha Rudd is born and Caroline returns to Gloucester Place.

05 LAST20120303

Wilkie's first child with Martha Rudd is born and Caroline returns to Gloucester Place.