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The Erl-King

From Angela Carter's sensual collection of fairy stories. A girl encounters the bewitching Erl-King in the forest, willingly enters his woodland lair and lies with him.

Five stories to gobble you up. From Angela Carter's iconic collection of fairy stories and dramatised for radio by Olivia Hetreed.

Episode 2: The Erl-KIng
A hapless maid wandering deeper into the woods encounters the bewitching presence of the Erl-King, the presiding spirit of the forest. She willingly enters his woodland lair and lies with him. But when she discovers that he plans to turn her into a bird and imprison her with the rest of his aviary, she must somehow break the spell.

At the time of writing The Bloody Chamber in the late 1970s, Angela Carter was disaffected by both sides of the feminist debate. She re-worked traditional fairy tales from her own unique, literary outsider's point of view, putting women at the centre of the stories.

With their feisty heroines and orgiastic mash-up of beasts, shape-shifters and ghouls, her extraordinary tales are the most perfect example of her style, not just for her incomparable prose, but also in the dizzying twists and turns of perception, fantasy and myth.

Controversially influenced by De Sade, she embraced the erotic, explored our deepest and darkest urges, and subverted the roles of hunter and prey, master and mistress so that, instead of male sexuality, it is the female that becomes transgressive and powerful.

Dramatist Olivia Hetreed is a noted screen-writer, whose work includes the multi-award winning, BAFTA and Oscar nominated Girl with a Pearl Earring, starring Colin Firth and Scarlett Johansson and the award-winning, critically-acclaimed radical adaptation of Wuthering Heights directed by Andrea Arnold.

Sound Design: Lucinda Mason Brown
Director / Producer: Fiona McAlpine

An Allegra production for BBC Radio 4.

15 minutes

Credits

Role Contributor
Erl-King Ariyon Bakare
Lover Rakie Ayola
Goblin Jasmine Jones
Director Fiona McAlpine
Producer Fiona McAlpine
Author Angela Carter
Adaptor Olivia Hetreed

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