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Daphne du Maurier
The official Daphne du Maurier website, approved by her Estate

Daphne du Maurier – A Fortnight of special programmes on BBC Radio 4 and 4 Extra, commencing on Saturday 2nd March

BBC Drama logo

Here at the Daphne du Maurier website, we are always delighted when Daphne du Maurier is acknowledged for being the important and influential writer that we already know she is!  During her lifetime, she did not feel that she attained any great importance as an author, despite the fact that at the peak of her fame during the 1950s, when My Cousin Rachel was published, she was described as ‘the highest paid woman writer in Britain’.

The problem lay in the fact that she was unfairly labelled as a writer of romantic fiction.  This was primarily due to her publisher, Victor Gollancz, who believed her books would sell in volume under the guise of romantic fiction.  While there is nothing wrong with this genre, it somewhat diminished her to the status of ‘a jolly good storyteller’ and then dismissed her from any serious thought.

It is really only since she died in 1989 that Daphne du Maurier’s work has been looked at by academics, included in student study from GCSE to degree level and discussed in broader terms.  This means that it is only now that Daphne du Maurier has come to be recognised as a writer of extreme talent and that her work has considerable depth and quality not previously recognised.

So, it is with great joy we announce that listeners in the UK can look forward to two weeks of programming on BBC Radio 4 and Radio 4 Extra, highlighting Daphne du Maurier and shining a new light on her life and work.

Here is a rundown of the programmes that will be taking place throughout the first of this two-week treat.

It is probably helpful to note that programmes newly produced for this special fortnight will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4, and programmes that have been transmitted on various occasions in the past (sometimes a long time ago) will be on Radio 4 Extra.

BBC Frenchman's Creek logo

Each weekday evening, the Book at Bedtime will be Frenchman’s Creek, and Emma Fielding will read it.  This will be broadcast on Radio 4 at 10.45pm from Monday to Friday for two weeks.

Scheduling Saturday 2nd to Friday 8th March

DduM Radio 4 Extra logo

Saturday 2nd March  

On Saturday 2nd March, this exciting series of Daphne du Maurier programmes begins with a dramatisation of Daphne’s most iconic 1938 novel, Rebecca.  This adaptation was dramatised by Brian Miller and first broadcast in 1989.  It stars:

Christopher Cazenove as Maxim de Winter
Janet Maw as Mrs de Winter
Rosalie Crutchley as Mrs Danvers

Rebecca is broadcast at 6.00am, repeated at 11am and again at 5.00pm on Radio 4 Extra.

Sunday 3rd March

On Radio 4 Extra, there will be a further repeat of Saturday’s dramatisation of Rebecca, starring Christopher Cazenove, broadcast at 1am.

Opening Lines logo

Also, on Sunday 3rd March, at 2.45pm, the regular Radio 4 programme Opening Lines, hosted by John Yorke, will be taking a look at Daphne du Maurier’s spectacular short story, Don’t Look Now, as a lead-up to 3pm, when Radio 4 brings us Daphne du Maurier: Double Exposure – Part One: Don’t Look Now.  This is a brand new dramatisation of the 1971 short story and is sure to be a great adaptation of this chilling tale.

Monday 4th March

Radio 4 Extra will broadcast The World of Daphne du Maurier, which will take the form of adaptations of five of Daphne du Maurier’s short stories, starting today with The Chamois at 5am, followed by The Alibi at 5.30am.  These two short stories will be repeated at 10am and 10.30am and again at 3pm and 3.30pm.

Tuesday 5th March

The Chamois and The Alibi will be repeated on Radio 4 Extra at 12 midnight and 12.30am.

On Radio 4 Extra, The World of Daphne du Maurier continues with adaptations of two more short stories, Ganymede and The Apple Tree, at 5am and 5.30am, repeated at 10am and 10.30am and again at 3pm and 3.30pm.

Wednesday 6th March

Ganymede and The Apple Tree will be repeated on Radio 4 Extra at 12 midnight and 12.30am.

On Radio 4, at 2.15pm, we are in for a treat with a new biographical drama, written by Moya O’Shea, called Beside Myself.  Starring Helena Bonham Carter as Daphne and Bill Nighy as ‘Man’ this drama takes us to the clifftops near Kilmarth, where Daphne regularly walks, and where she encounters a man who engages her in conversation.  To Daphne’s own amazement, she finds herself revealing far more about herself than she would ever usually do.  Why is she compelled to tell so much of herself to this man?

On Radio 4 Extra, The World of Daphne du Maurier series will conclude with the short story Panic at 5am, repeated at 10am and again at 3pm.  

Following Panic, The Supreme Artist and East Wind will be broadcast at 5.30am and 5.45am.  These stories will be repeated at 10.30am and 10.45am and again at 3.30pm and 3.45pm.

Thursday 7th March

Panic, The Supreme Artist and East Wind will be repeated on Radio 4 Extra at 12 midnight, 12.30am and 12.45am.

The iconic short story, The Doll, will be broadcast on Radio 4 Extra at 5.45am, repeated at 10.45am, and again at 3.45pm.

Friday 8th March

Radio 4 Extra will repeat The Doll at 12.45am.

On Radio 4 Extra, the short story for today is The Happy Valley, broadcast at 5.45am, repeated at 10.45am and again at 3.45pm.

It is great that Daphne’s short stories are being repeated at different times over a 24-hour period, so it should be possible to tune in at some point.  However, if you miss anything, you can catch up on BBC Sounds.  

We will bring you the scheduling for next week nearer the time.

The BBC has chosen some fantastic and often less well-known Daphne du Maurier short stories.  Having listened to them, you might want to read them, as well as others in Daphne’s short story collections.  So, here is a list of the short story collections you can find them in:

The Breaking Point: Short Stories – includes The Chamois, The Alibi and Ganymede.
The Birds and Other Stories
includes The Apple Tree
The Rendezvous: Short Stories
includes Panic and The Supreme Artist
The Doll: Short Stories
– includes East Wind, The Doll and The Happy Valley.

These four short story collections are all published by Virago and are currently available in the UK.

March 2024.

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