BBC Radio 4 to explore Daphne du Maurier’s life and work with fortnight of special programming

The series includes a biographical play, Beside Myself, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Bill Nighy


BBC Radio 4

Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure, a fortnight of special programming across BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, will shine new light on the life and works of one of the twentieth century’s most enduringly popular writers, beginning on Sunday 3 March. The series includes a biographical play, Beside Myself, starring Helena Bonham Carter and Bill Nighy, as well as dramatisations of du Maurier’s short stories and novels, a reading, by Emma Fielding, of Frenchman’s Creek as the Book at Bedtime, and an episode of Open Book exploring du Maurier’s relationship with Cornwall. The series will celebrate the imaginative variety and power of arguably one of the most underestimated but prolific and radical female writers of the last century.

BBC Radio 4’s Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction, Alison Hindell, says: “Our Double Exposure collection ranges through Cornwall to France and Venice, featuring well-known and less familiar titles. I’m looking forward to providing listeners with a fresh take on Daphne du Maurier’s much-loved work, whose absorbing, satisfying and often unnerving storytelling continues to thrill readers, appeal to actors and inspire writers today.”

Full list of programmes

Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure

Part One: Don’t Look Now

Sunday 3 March, BBC Radio 4, 3pm-4pm

Du Maurier's brilliantly subtle and disturbing exploration of loss. John and Laura take a holiday in Venice in an attempt to move on from the grief that has gripped them since the death of their daughter. There they meet two sisters, one of whom claims to have had a vision of their dead daughter: a claim that begins to eat away at the couple's grief and painfully exposes their different methods of dealing with their loss. Are the sisters charlatans or is there something to be found in the dark alleyways of Venice?

John - Jamie Parker
Laura - Aisling Loftus
Christine - Mabel Cresswell
Jonny - Bertie Cresswell
Dorcas - Rebecca Crankshaw
Hilda - Jessica Turner
Manager - Alessandro Dowling
Detective - Ian Dunnett Junior
Brit - John Lightbody
Pianist - Ian Dunnett Junior
Writer - Daphne Du Maurier
Dramatist - Katie Hims
Director - Sally Avens

Frenchman’s Creek

Monday 4 March – Friday 15 March, BBC Radio 4, 10.45pm-11pm

A ten-part reading of Frenchman’s Creek for Book at Bedtime.

Emma Fielding reads Daphne Du Maurier's enduring and adored classic novel - a story of love and daring and a painted pirate ship in a secret Cornish creek, and of the beautiful, roistering Lady Dona St Columb, who, fleeing her vacuous life in London, meets her match at last.

Set on Du Maurier's beloved South Cornwall coast, in the secret creeks and inlets of the Helford river, where the curlews and the oyster-catchers wade on the mud flats and the night jars churr at midnight, Frenchman's Creek is a love song to another century, another age, where the traveller in time might just glimpse a figure in the shadows, the moonlight glinting on his buckled shoe or the cutlass in his hand, and a cloaked woman might slip silently through the woods to meet her lover.

On an impulse, Dona St Columb, imperious, dare-devil and unhappy, abandons the playhouse and the pranks of her 17th century London life to escape to her husband's country seat, Navron House. Arriving with her two small children and a maid, she finds it staffed only by the mysterious William. And while the sun on her face promises the first taste of the freedom she seeks, has someone been sleeping in her bed, and even smoking tobacco?

Reader Emma Fielding
Abridger Julian Wilkinson
Producer Di Speirs

Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure – Beside Myself

Wednesday 6 March, BBC Radio 4, 2.15pm – 3pm

Daphne du Maurier makes her way along the clifftops near Kilmarth but any semblance of independence is quickly dispelled by the annoying presence of her nurse, Terry, following at a distance, for being unable to write, the author is suffering from insomnia and depression.

The routine of these ambles is well known to her fans and they often seek her out. So when a stranger approaches, Daphne thinks he’s just another and picks up her stiff stride, eager to get away. However, this one’s not to be deterred. As they walk along Daphne, to her own amazement, finds herself revealing much to the man about her life. Why is she compelled to divulge so much? Perhaps too much.

Daphne - Helena Bonham Carter
Man - Bill Nighy
Terry - Alex Tregear
Lawyer - Ian Dunnett Junior
Writer - Moya O'Shea
Director - Tracey Neale
Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure

Part Two: The Blue Lenses and The Little Photographer

Sunday 10 March, BBC Radio 4, 3pm-4pm

Two unnerving dramas mining the dark side of human nature by Daphne du Maurier.

  1. The Blue Lenses

An eye operation changes how Marda West sees the world and the people in it.

Marda - Bethany Muir
Jim - Oliver Chris
Nurse Ansel - Rhiannon Neads
The Surgeon - Michael Bertenshaw
Nurse Brand - Anna Spearpoint
Eric - Ian Dunnett Junior
Writer - Daphne du Maurier
Dramatist - Anna Linstrum
Director - Gemma Jenkins
2. The Little Photographer

The beautiful but bored Madame la Marquise is on holiday in the South of France. One day she meets the local photographer. As Monsieur Paul studies her she feels the thrill of being looked at and wants something momentous to happen.

Madame la Marquise - Lucy Boynton
Monsieur Paul - Ian Dunnett Junior
Edouard - John Lightbody
Miss Clay - Jessica Turner
Celeste - Rosie Coleman
Helene - Maisie Avis
Mademoiselle Paul - Rhiannon Neads
Writer - Daphne du Maurier
Dramatist - Vivienne Allen
Director - Tracey Neale
Open Book

Sunday 10 March, BBC Radio 4, 4pm-4.30pm

This week, Open Book considers the enduring appeal of Daphne du Maurier’s novels. Octavia Bright and a trio of distinguished writers discuss du Maurier the novelist, the timelessness of her themes, her psychological insights into her characters and how the author's deep love of the landscapes of Cornwall fed into her best loved stories, from Rebecca to Frenchman's Creek to Jamaica Inn.

Radio 4 Extra

The Doll: Short Stories by Daphne du Maurier

Wednesday 6 March – Friday 8 March.

A series of short stories from Daphne du Maurier. Stories will be repeated at 5.45am, 10.45am, 3.45pm, and 00.45am each day.

East Wind

Wednesday 6 March

On the shores of the Scilly Isles, a young couple are beguiled by shipwrecked strangers.

Rediscovered stories by a young Daphne du Maurier that reveal some of the themes explored in her novels.

East Wind was written when Daphne du Maurier was just nineteen.

Written by Daphne du Maurier.

Read by Anna Madeley.

Abridged by Richard Hamilton.

Producer: Elizabeth Allard

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 2011.

The Doll

Thursday 7 March

The Doll is a macabre and unsettling tale about a young man besotted by a young violinist, who in turn has a strange and haunting passion.

The Doll is the title story of a collection by Daphne du Maurier that were either never published or were out of print for decades.

Written in the late 1920s when du Maurier herself was just twenty, it reveals some of the dark themes that she explores in the later novels that made her name.

Read by Ed Stoppard and Sean Baker
Abridged by Richard Hamilton
Producer by Elizabeth Allard.
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in May 2011.

The Happy Valley – Friday 8 March

A woman finds herself walking into a landscape, and a grand old house, she has already dreamed about.

Rediscovered stories by a young Daphne du Maurier that reveal some of the themes explored in her novels.

The Happy Valley was originally printed in the Illustrated London News in 1932.

Written by Daphne du Maurier.
Abridger: Richard Hamilton
Read by Hattie Morahan.
Producer: Lucy Collingwood
First broadcast on BBC Radio in 2011.

The Years Between

Saturday 9 March 6am (Repeat 11am, 5pm & 1am)

When her MP husband is reported killed in action, Diana Wentworth rebuilds her life and takes over his seat. Stars Diana Quick.


Saturday 2 March 6am (Repeat 11am, 5pm & 1am)

To tie-in with Radio 4’s new Daphne du Maurier drama and reading, a chance to hear this classic drama, taken from her 1938 novel, and dramatised for radio by Brian Miller.

Whilst working in Monte Carlo, a young woman meets and hastily marries recently-widowed Maxim de Winter. After the honeymoon, they return to Manderley, de Winter’s Cornish estate. But the young Mrs de Winter finds the beautiful mansion and its occupants haunted by memories of Rebecca, his first wife.

The star-studded cast features Christopher Cazenove (Dynasty), Janet Maw, Nickolas Grace and Rosalie Crutchley.

Director Cherry Cookson

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1989.

The World of Daphne Du Maurier

Monday 4 March – Wednesday 6 March 5am (Repeat 10am, 3pm & 12am)

A series of adaptations of Daphne Du Maurier's famous short stories.

The Supreme Artist

Wednesday 6 March 5.30am (Repeat 10.30am, 3.30pm & 12.30am)

The matinee is over, but who is the visitor waiting at the stage door? Michael Drew reads Daphne du Maurier's short story.

Source BBC Radio 4

February 16, 2024 3:00am ET by BBC Radio 4  

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