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    Seven BBC radio full-cast productions of Noël Coward’s classic plays – plus bonus material including a profile of Coward and extracts from his diaries. 

    Renowned for his wit, style and sophistication, Noël Coward was one of the greatest playwrights of the 20th century. His plays, set in the glittering world of high society in which he lived, are much admired and have remained in the popular theatre repertoire to this day.

    This collection brings together the very best radio adaptations of Coward’s works, encompassing sparkling comedies of manners 'Private Lives' and 'Hay Fever', farcical ghost story 'Blithe Spirit', and daring ménage à trois drama 'Design for Living'. Here, too, is his controversial first hit 'The Vortex'; the poignant 'Still Life' (the inspiration for the film Brief Encounter); and the semi-autobiographical 'Present Laughter'.

    Among the star-studded cast are Helena Bonham-Carter, Bill Nighy, Judi Dench, Celia Imrie, Roger Allam, Harriet Walter, Paul Rhys, Stephanie Cole and Paul Scofield.

    Also included is a BBC World Service profile of Noël Coward, comprising interviews, musical extracts and archive clips; and the BBC Radio 4 programme ‘From His Diaries’, featuring a selection of passages from Coward’s journal read by Simon Cadell.

    Track listing:

     1-2: Private Lives
    3-4: Hay Fever
    5-6: Blithe Spirit
    7-10: Design for Living
    11-12: The Vortex
    13: Still Life
    14-16: Present Laughter
    17: Meridian: Noël Coward profile
    18-20: Noël Coward - From His Diaries

    Private Lives
    Amanda…Helena Bonham-Carter
    Elyot…Bill Nighy
    Sibyl…Andrea Riseborough
    Victor…Paul Ritter
    Louise…AnnaRose Cattanach
    Directed by Sally Avens

    Hay Fever
    Judith Bliss…Judi Dench
    David Bliss…Michael Williams
    Richard Greatham…Geoffrey Palmer
    Marya Arundel…Celia Imrie
    Jackie Coryton…Patricia Brake
    Sandy Tyrell…Christopher Blake
    Simon Bliss…Patrick Pearson
    Sorel Bliss…Alison Reid
    Qara…Patricia Hayes
    Directed by Leslie Lawton

    Blithe Spirit
    Charles…Roger Allam
    Madame Arcati…Maggie Steed
    Elvira…Zoe Waites
    Ruth…Hermione Gulliford
    Dr Bradman…David Killick
    Mrs Bradman…Tilly Tremayne
    Edith…Natalie Cassidy
    Directed by Philip Franks

    Design for Living
    Gilda…Cheryl Campbell
    Otto…Alex Jennings
    Leo…Michael Kitchen
    Ernest Friedman…James Laurenson
    Mr Birbeck…Alan Barker
    Henry Carver…Bradley Lavell
    Miss Hodge/Helen…Joanna Myers
    Grace Torrence…Linda Marlowe
    Directed by Ned Chaillet

    The Vortex
    Florence Lancaster…Harriet Walter
    Nicky…Paul Rhys
    Helen…Frances Jeater
    Pawnie…John Rye
    Clara Hibbert…Jenny Funnell
    Tom Veryan…Robert Portal
    David Lancaster…Peter Blythe
    Bunty Mainwaring…Federay Holmes
    Bruce Fairlight…Keith Drinkel
    Preston…Pamela Grace
    Directed by John Tydeman

    Still Life
    Laura Lesson…Amanda Root
    Dr Alec Harvey…John Duttine
    Myrtle Bagott…Stephanie Cole
    Albert Godby…Trevor Peacock
    Beryl Waters/Lady on Train…Sunny Ormonde
    Stanley…Brian Parr
    Dolly Messiter…Josephine Tewson
    Bill…Richard Curnow
    Johnny/Guard…Malcolm McKee
    Directed by Sue Wilson

    Present Laughter
    Gary Essendine…Paul Scofield
    Liz Essendine…Joy Parker
    Monica Reed…Patricia Routledge
    Joanna Lyppiatt…Fenella Fielding
    Henry Lyppiatt…Alan Rowe
    Morris Dixon…Bernard Joyner
    Daphne Stillington…Miriam Margolyes
    Lady Saltburn…Betty Huntley-Wright
    Fred…Timothy Bateson
    Miss Erikson…Diana Olsson
    Roland Maule…David Timson
    Produced by Ian Cotterell  

    ©2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2018 BBC Worldwide Ltd

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    The extracts from his diaries are fascinating and enormously entertaining, despite all his perhaps dated prejudices, all of them attenuated by his wonderfully precise use of language and his humour.