iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

The Ballad of Reading Gaol by Oscar Wilde

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Sunday 07 October 2012

Oscar Wilde's The Ballad of Reading Gaol, read by Alex Jennings. Presented by Roger McGough.

In May 1897 Oscar Wilde was released from Reading Gaol. That month he began to write The Ballad of Reading Gaol - to express his horror and outrage at what he had witnessed during his years in prison. The poem memorialises a fellow prisoner, who was hanged for murder in 1896.

Wilde wrote it in exile in Dieppe, then Naples. He finished it in October that same year, and it was published the following year, 1898. The author's name was given simply as C. 3. 3., Wilde's number in Reading Gaol, his cell being the third on the third floor of Block C.

Producer Beth O'Dea.

  • The poem featured in this programme:

    The poem featured in this programme:

    The Ballad of Reading Gaol
    By Oscar Wilde
    From Oscar Wilde – Selected Poems
    Published by Carcanet


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.

Added. Check out your playlist Dismiss