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Publisher's Summary

In this BBC Radio adaptation of Peter Ackroyd's spectacular one-man show, Simon Callow portrays both Charles Dickens and many of his best-loved characters, from Mr. Micawber and Bill Sikes to Oliver Twist and Nancy. Readings from his novels interweave with the author's own words and an incisive, compassionate narrative. Dickens' idyllic childhood in Chatham was swapped for his family's penurious existence in London. With his father imprisoned for debt, young Charles was deprived of an education and forced to work in a blacking factory. Such experiences molded him into the fiercely industrious, ambitious writer who would later claim that his characters talked to and touched him. Full of fascinating insight, the play illustrates how Dickens never quite managed to escape the dark shadows cast by his earlier life. Featuring material not included in the radio broadcast, this production is prefaced with an introduction by Callow himself.

©2012 Peter Ackroyd (P)2012 AudioGO Ltd

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Another "WOW!" book!

Another very interesting and informative book about one of the most famous writers of all time! Loved it. AND, of course, I love to listen Simon Callow. He is Dickens personified!

Highly recommend!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 01-31-18

Charles Dickens

I absolutely loved it from start to finish. The story was amazing and Simon Callow is a genius

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  • michael
  • 02-05-17

Utterly mesmerising...

Who else could do justice to the best English novelist of all time, but Simon Callow. He brings the magic of Dickens' to life. For any lover of the great man's work, characters and performances, this is truly fan-tastic.

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  • steve
  • 05-30-13

Absolutely superb narration

Simon Callow's narration of this book is the best narration I have ever heard. Absolutely superb.

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • David Temple
  • 04-07-13

Attention English teachers...

If only all English teachers listened to this or played this in their lessons, then I know Charles Dickens would be made more accessible and enjoyed. Simon Callow's performance is untouchable, I believe he is the best audio narrator bar none. I have been lucky enough to see Mr Callow perform The Mystery of Charles Dickens, but this audio version has just as much power. His tangible energy and passion and verbal agility are infectious.

If you love Words, literature, Dickens. This must be heard.



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  • Prue Raos
  • 05-21-18

Highly entertaining and well worth a listen

I loved it. Simon Callow is a superb actor and a great lover of the works of Dickens. Need you ask for more? A great play which essentially positions you back where you once were as a longtime lover of this marvellous author.