The Surreal and Supernatural Stories of Walter de la Mare: A BBC Radio Collection

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
February 2024
7 hours 34 minutes
Full-cast dramatisations and readings of classic tales by Walter de la Mare – plus bonus material.

An award-wining poet, short story writer and novelist, Walter de la Mare is probably best known for his works for children and his perennially popular poem ‘The Listeners’. His ghost stories were much admired by H. P. Lovecraft and inspired subsequent authors of supernatural horror such as Robert Aickman and Ramsey Campbell.

In 1921, his novel Memoirs of a Midget won the James Tait Black Prize for Fiction, and this haunting, surrealistic tale is the opening tale in our anthology. It tells the extraordinary life story of the diminutive Miss M, who struggles to find her place in Victorian society. Torn between her obsessive suitor Mr Anon and the cruel, beautiful Fanny Bowater, she seeks freedom in the dangerous world of the circus… Emma Fielding stars as Miss M, with Robert Glenister, Sylvestra Le Touzel and Anna Massey.

Based on de la Mare’s 1923 short story and starring Samuel West and Margaret Robertson, ‘Seaton’s Aunt’ sees Rupert Withers recalling the sinister relative of a boyhood friend – a woman he met just three times, but who left an indelible impression. Ghost Stories of Walter de la Mare contains four more uncanny tales – ‘All Hallows’ (read by Richard E. Grant), ‘Crewe’ (read by Kenneth Cranham), ‘A Recluse’ (read by Anthony Head) and ‘The Almond Tree’ (read by Julian Wadham). It is followed by a dramatisation of ‘The Trumpet’, starring Garard Green, in which a rector’s son meets his best friend in church one moonlit night for a dare that ends in disaster.

Also included are two bonus programmes celebrating the poetry of Walter de la Mare. In Adventures in Poetry: The Listeners, Peggy Reynolds introduces a reading of the much-loved poem, and explores its background, effect and lasting appeal with guests Russell Hoban, Sean Street and de la Mare’s grandson Giles. And in Three Score and Ten, Ian Macmillan presents an archive recording from Christmas Day 1953 of Walter de la Mare reading his poems ‘England’ and ‘The Little Salamander’.

Written by Walter de la Mare

First published 1921 (Memoirs of a Midget), 1923 (‘Seaton’s Aunt’, ‘The Almond Tree’), 1926 (‘All Hallows’), 1930 (‘Crewe’, ‘A Recluse’), 1936 (‘The Trumpet’)

Memoirs of a Midget
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 26 March-2 April 1993
Please note that the language used reflects the era in which the original novel was written.

‘Seaton’s Aunt’
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 December 1995

Ghost Stories of Walter de la Mare
First broadcast BBC Radio 7, 24-28 December 2010

The Trumpet
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 April 1986

Adventures in Poetry: The Listeners
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23 November 2008

Three Score and Ten
First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 12 October 2016

© 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2024 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
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