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Episode 1

3 weeks left to listen
1 hour
First broadcast:
Sunday 30 October 2011

Adapted by Tristram Powell and Honor Borwick.

Elizabeth Bowen's wartime novel of betrayal adapted from a screenplay by Harold Pinter. Part love story, part spy thriller, in which the beautiful Stella's allegiances are tested.

Stella discovers that her lover, Robert, who works for British Intelligence, is suspected of selling classified information to the enemy. Harrison, the man who has tracked Robert down, wants Stella herself as the price for his silence. Caught between these two men, not sure whom to believe, Stella finds her world crumbling as she learns how little we can truly know of those around us.

First published in 1949, The Heat of the Day was Bowen's most successful novel. In it she draws heavily on her affair with Charles Ritchie, a Canadian diplomat, to whom the book is dedicated. The tortuous nature of their affair is reflected in the doubts and uncertainties of Stella's relationship with Robert. Robert and Stella share the same ages (and age difference) as Bowen and Ritchie.

Bowen's preoccupation with the cracks below the surface and the psychology of hurt and betrayal is echoed in Harold Pinter's work. Pinter's style and Bowen's dialogue find a perfect marriage in this adaptation.

Directed by Tristram Powell

Screenwriter ..... Henry Goodman
Harrison ..... Matthew Marsh
Stella ...... Anna Chancellor
Robert ..... Tom Goodman-Hill
Louie/ Anne ...... Teresa Gallagher
Roderick ...... Daniel Weyman
Ernestine ...... Honeysuckle Weeks
Mrs Kelway/ Mrs Tringsby ...... Tina Gray
Cousin Francis/ Blythe ...... Nigel Anthony
Nettie ....... Gemma Jones
Peter ...... Ben Baker

Producer: Marilyn Imrie
A Catherine Bailey production for BBC Radio 4.


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