By Jonathan Holloway
The last of four plays featuring episodes in the life of Eric Blair. In 1947, the year after Eileen's death, Eric leaves London and moves to Jura, with his sister Avril, and his three year old son. He is suffering from tuberculosis but is determined to try and make a go of living off the land. But most of all he is determined to finish Nineteen Eighty-Four, his final book.
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.
|Eric Blair||Joseph Millson|
|Avril Blair||Liza Sadovy|
|Ricky Blair||James Foster|