The 17th Century classic brought to life in a bold new telling
The Pilgrim's Progress is regarded as one of the most significant works of theological fiction in English literature and is considered by some to be the first novel written in English. First published in 1678, it has been translated into more than 200 languages and had never been out of print. John Bunyan's seminal work has influenced writers across the centuries from Charlotte Brontë to Enid Blyton and beyond.
In this innovative and beautifully paced production of John Bunyan's classic novel, dramatist Brian Sibley takes us deftly on the pilgrim Christian's life changing journey to the Celestial City, whilst also delicately weaving into the narrative the author's own journey. Arrested and imprisoned in the late 1600s for holding improper religious services, the drama unfolds through Bunyan's plight behind bars as he wrestles with his relationship to God, sense of duty and creativity - and begins to pen the novel from his cell.
Sibley delivers a fresh perspective and wonderful re-telling of the adventures of Christian, a pilgrim who embarks on a perilous journey from his hometown, the allegorical City of Destruction, to the Celestial City, or Heaven. Dramatised across three episodes, we follow Christian as he meets with death, despair, hope and ultimately salvation. It is the story of the everyman pilgrim who seeks to gain knowledge, making mistakes along that way that inform and inspire him on his path to grace.
Starring Anton Rodgers (May to December) as Bunyan and Neil Dudgeon (Midsomer Murders) as Christian, this full-cast production also features the well-known voices of Anna Massey and Peter Bowles. Brian Sibley is perhaps best known as the writer behind the hugely popular, landmark BBC radio adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.
Written by Brian Sibley based on the novel by John Bunyan
Directed by Pam Fraser Solomon
Bunyan - Anton Rodgers
Christian - Neil Dudgeon
Evangelist - Alec McCowen
Beelzebub - Don Warrington
Interpreter - Anna Massey
Caged Man - Peter Bowles
Elizabeth - Caroline Lee Johns
Jailer - Ioan Meredith
Judge - Derek Waring
Pliable/Watchful/Sincere - Philip Fox
Obstinate/Clerk/Knowledge - Chris Moran
Help/Prudence/Angel - Jaimi Barbakoff
Goodwill/Charity/Angel - Lydia Leonard
Angel/Piety/Deceiver - Cherie Taylor-Battiste
Child - Sophie Levy
Child - Nyla Lev
Faithful - Graham Crowden
Cobb/Giant Despair - Stephen Thorne
Discretion - Eve Karpf
Talkative/Ignorance - Rachel Atkins
Timorous/Experience - Damian Lynch
Hopeful - Paul Medford
Mrs Despair - Frances Jeater
False-Confidence - Declan Wilson
First Broadcast BBC Radio 4, 4 January 2004
©2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
Brian Sibley (Author)
Brian Sibley is an English writer. He is author of over 100 hours of radio drama and has written and presented hundreds of radio documentaries, features and weekly programmes. He is widely known as the author of many movie 'making of' books, including those for the Harry Potter series and The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogies.
Anna Massey (Reader)
Anna Massey has been a successful actress for fifty years. Her career has spanned a wide range. In the cinema she has worked with many of the great directors, including Alfred Hitchcock, Michael Powell, Otto Preminger and Fred Zinneman. But perhaps her favourite performances have been in the theatre - among those being The Miracle Worker, Heartbreak House, The Importance of Being Earnest, and Mary Stuart. For television she won a BAFTA Award for her performance in Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac, and she starred very memorably in the title role of Gwen John, and also in Trollope's He Knew He Was Right. On radio her voice is familiar to many from plays and documentaries, most recently narrating the history of Britain in This Sceptred Isle, which has brought her a whole new audience.