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Talking Heads
Alan Bennett
Alan Bennett's much-loved collection of monologues, giving us a glimpse in to the lives of five ordinary British people

Alan Bennett
Thora Hird in 'A Cream Cracker Under the Settee'
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Alan Bennett profile

After nearly three decades of uninterrupted success in the fields of satire (Beyond the Fringe), theatre (40 Years On), TV dramas (An Englishman Abroad) and film (A Private Function), Alan Bennett broke new dramatic ground when this series of monologues appeared on BBC TV in 1988.

Such was their popularity that they have since moved on to BBC radio, international theatre and even the A-level syllabus. They have also become one of the bestselling audio book releases of all time.

Each tale gives us privileged access to the innermost thoughts of an individual, who, although we only hear his/her side of the story, frequently reveals more about him/herself than intended.

The stories are poignant, sometimes sad, occasionally uplifting, and they all showcase Alan Bennett's powers of observation, comic timing and exquisite turn of phrase.

Our Talking Heads Special on Sunday 4 May also includes an introduction by Alan Bennett. Click here to listen to a clip.

The six stories you can hear on BBC7 are:

Alan BennettA Chip in the Sugar - Life for Graham (Alan Bennett) and his elderly mother has settled into a comfortable pattern when a face from the past appears to threaten his peace of mind. (Sunday 4 and Wednesday 7 May)

Patricia RoutledgeA Lady of Letters - Irene (Patricia Routledge) thinks 'corresponding' is every citizen's right in a free society, but she gets her first taste of real freedom in the most unlikely place. (Sunday 4 and Thursday 8 May)

Anna MasseyBed Among the Lentils - Susan (Anna Massey) doesn't feel she has any of the talents needed to be a vicar's wife and finds herself seeking comfort elsewhere. (Tuesday 6 May)

Stephanie ColeSoldiering On - Muriel (Stephanie Cole) is determined not to let her recent widowhood get her down, but the fallout is far more serious than she could ever have expected. (Sunday 4 and Monday 5 May)

Thora HirdA Cream Cracker Under the Settee - Doris (Thora Hird) has fallen off the buffet and, while sitting in the dark waiting for help, she looks back on a life dedicated to fighting dirt. (Sunday 4 and Friday 9 May)

Julie WaltersHer Big Chance - Lesley (Julie Walters) is an actress who works hard at her craft but needs a career leg-up. Will a chance encounter at a party provide just that? (Sunday 4 May)

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