By Mike Walker
The second of four plays featuring episodes in the life of Eric Blair.
In September 1938, Eric and Eileen Blair leave London for Marrakech. He is hoping that the climate will be good for his health, and that he will be able to complete 'Coming Up for Air' a novel that examines, among other things, the nature of England. But the bruising reception he received following the publication of Homage to Catalonia is troubling Eric. And both Eric and Eileen are still feeling guilty about the fate of one of their Spanish Civil War comrades, Georges Kopp. In the summer of 1938 Kopp had just been released from prison. In Marrakech, Eileen falls ill, and Eric dreams of England, and of Kopp.
Directed by Jeremy Mortimer
Of course there is no real George Orwell - it was the pen name of Eric Blair - but he was a writer and political commentator who is very hard to pin down. Ever since his early death in 1950, he has been at one and the same time the darling of some on both the left and the right of British politics - whilst being reviled by others. For all the beautiful simplicity of his writing and storytelling Orwell/Blair is a complex mass of confusions - an anti-establishment, pro-English, ex-Etonian ex-policeman and socialist, who was ardently anti-authoritarian. He was as anti-fascist as he was anti-communist, a former Spanish Civil War soldier who was anti-war but pro the Second World War, and so on and so on.
Through dramatisations of the key books, through four newly commissioned plays that explore the disjuncture between the man who was Eric Blair and the writer who was George Orwell, and through factual programming and readings, Radio 4 will take you on a journey from Burma via Catalonia, Wigan, Jura, Manor Farm along the road that led to Nineteen Eighty-Four, one of the most influential novels of the twentieth century.
Joseph Millson and Lyndsey Marshal as Mr and Mrs Blair
|Eric Blair||Joseph Millson|
|Eileen Blair||Lyndsey Marshal|
|Georges Kopp||Ewan Bailey|