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Viktor and Lyuda

Episode 1 of 13

4 Extra Debut. In Soviet Russia the Shaposhnikov family are about to feel the full impact of war. Starring Kenneth Branagh and Greta Scacchi.

Viktor, a nuclear physicist, is evacuated with his family from Moscow eastwards to Kazan.

It's October 1942 and the Russians are defending Stalingrad from the ferocious attack of the Germans. Viktor has a revelatory breakthrough in his research but his wife Lyuda learns of the death of her son and her grief drives a wedge between the couple: Viktor is drawn to the kindness of Marya, the wife of his close colleague.

Kenneth Branagh and David Tennant star in Vasily Grossman’s epic saga.

Set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad, Grossman’s huge novel charts the fate of both a nation and a family in the turmoil of war and is increasingly seen as the most important Russian novel of the 20th century. Its comparison of Stalinism with Nazism was considered by Soviet authorities to be so dangerous that the manuscript itself was arrested.

Grossman died in 1964, never knowing that his book would be smuggled to the West and eventually published in 1980.

Dramatised by Mike Walker.

Viktor Shtrum.....Kenneth Branagh
Lyuda Shaposhnikova.....Greta Scacchi
Nadya.....Ellie Kendrick
Alexandra .....Ann Mitchell
Pyotr Sokolov.....Nigel Anthony
Akhmet Karimov....Stephen Greif
Marya Sokolova.....Harriet Walter
Leonid Madyarov.....Ralph Ineson
Sister.....Elaine Claxton
Anna Stepanovna....Alex Tregear
Soldiers.....Gerard McDermott, Jonathan Forbes, Henry Devas

Original music by John Hardy with Rob Whitehead.

Musicians: Oliver Wilson-Dickson, Tom Jackson, Stacey Blythe and Max Pownall

Translated by Robert Chandler

Director: Alison Hindell

First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in September 2011.

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Life and Fate

Vasily Grossman's sweeping historical tale set against the ferocious Battle of Stalingrad.

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