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    Fifteen of the finest works by the world-renowned playwright, as heard on BBC radio.

    George Bernard Shaw - or Bernard Shaw, as he preferred to be known - was one of Ireland's foremost dramatists and thinkers. His plays range from contemporary satires to historical allegories, and are infused with ideas, insight, wit and wisdom. Included here are some of his best works, adapted for radio and brought together in reverse chronological order in one statement collection.

    We begin with his prophetic political comedy The Apple Cart, set in the future and pitting the fictional King Magnus against his Prime Minister. Next is his masterpiece Saint Joan, dramatising the trials of Joan of Arc, for which he won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1925. Heartbreak House lampoons England's ruling elite before World War I, as they sail heedlessly towards catastrophe; Pygmalion explores feminism and the class system through Cockney flower girl Eliza Doolittle and irascible phonetics professor Henry Higgins; and in Androcles and the Lion, Shaw transforms Aesop's fable to impart his thoughts on human frailty, religion and martyrdom.

    The Dark Lady of the Sonnets imagines a meeting between William Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth I, while alternate history Press Cuttings sets the suffragettes against crotchety war veteran General Mitchener. Here, too, are the controversial The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet, banned in England for contravening blasphemy laws; the classic comedy Major Barbara, a tale of romance, rich privilege and a battle of wills; and the humorous philosophical drama based on the Don Juan theme, Man and Superman, directed for Radio 3 by theatrical icon Sir Peter Hall.

    Also featured are early works Caesar and Cleopatra, a dramatised account of the relationship between the Roman dictator and the Egyptian queen; The Devil's Disciple, set against the backdrop of the American War of Independence; The Man of Destiny, in which Napoleon enters into a battle of wits with a beautiful stranger; and Candida, about a vicar's wife whose life is turned upside down by a young poet. Finally, Shaw's acclaimed 'problem play', Mrs Warren's Profession, probes issues of Victorian prostitution and double standards. And in a bonus documentary, devotees of the great author discuss his life, work and legacy.

    Among the array of stars in these coruscating dramas are Ralph Fiennes, Judi Dench, Prunella Scales, Anton Lesser, Juliet Stevenson, Paul Merton, Ron Cook, Victoria Hamilton, Nicholas Le Prevost, David Suchet, Eleanor Bron, David Troughton, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Alistair McGowan, Al Murray, Morgana Robinson, Robert Bathurst, Leslie French, Marius Goring, Arthur Lowe, Denys Hawthorne, Rebecca Front, Alan Badel, Gregory Peck, Paul Ritter, Hannah Gordon, Edward Petherbridge and Maggie Steed.

    Please note: this collection contains language that reflects the attitudes of the era in which the plays were written.

    Production credits:

    Written by George Bernard Shaw.

    First published 1893 (Mrs Warren's Profession), 1894 (Candida), 1895 (The Man of Destiny), 1896 (The Devil's Disciple), 1898 (Caesar and Cleopatra), 1902 (Man and Superman), 1905 (Major Barbara), 1909 (The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet, Press Cuttings), 1910 (The Dark Lady of the Sonnets), 1912 (Androcles and the Lion, Pygmalion), 1919 (Heartbreak House), 1923 (Saint Joan), 1928 (The Apple Cart), 2007 (Great Lives).


    The Apple Cart

    Saint Joan

    Heartbreak House


    Androcles and the Lion

    The Dark Lady of the Sonnets

    Press Cuttings

    The Shewing-Up of Blanco Posnet

    Major Barbara

    Man and Superman

    Caesar and Cleopatra

    The Devil's Disciple

    The Man of Destiny


    Mrs Warren's Profession

    Great Lives: George Bernard Shaw

    ©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

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