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West Country Dreaming

Sarah Parish and John Nettles celebrate Cornwall, Devon and Dorset in readings from Betjeman, Hardy and Charles Causley, and music ranging from Bax and Holst to Portishead.

Sarah Parish and John Nettles celebrate the counties of Cornwall, Devon, Dorset and Somerset.

'And citizens dream of the south and west' writes Hardy in his much-loved poem 'Weathers', and who indeed can resist the lure of the westerning sky? West-country memories and images in this week's programme range from family holidays to romantic medieval legend, and from the warmth of Betjeman's Dawlish to the unfriendly air of Hardy's Egdon Heath. Water is always near, whether beating the Cornish cliffs, flushing the boat of Brutus, son of Aeneas, up the River Dart (local legend says he came that way to found Britain), or flooding the fields of Glastonbury. And the West Country's own local talents are celebrated in poems by Charles Causley and Samuel Taylor Coleridge, and the music of The Fishermen's Friends (Cornwall), The Yetties (Dorset), and Bristol bands Spiro and Portishead.

Producer: Lindsay Kemp

John Nettles is a Cornish actor who starred in the TV series Bergerac and Midsomer Murders, and more recently in Poldark as Ray Penvenen.
Sarah Parish was born in Yeovil, Somerset, and her most recent work has included W1A, Bancroft, and Series 3 of Broadchurch.

Weathers (excerpt) - Thomas Hardy
The Seasons - Charles Causley
Beeny Cliff - Thomas Hardy
Idylls of the King (excerpt) - Alfred, Lord Tennyson
In Search of England (excerpt) - H.V. Morton
Dart (excerpt) - Alice Oswald
The Return of the Native (excerpt) - Thomas Hardy
Dawlish - John Betjeman
Five on a Treasure Island (excerpt) - Enid Blyton
Lines composed while climbing the left ascent of Brockley Coombe, May 1795 - Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Grassing (excerpt) - Elizabeth-Jane Burnett
Letter - Sylvia Plath
The Land’s End (excerpt) - W.H. Hudson
Grave by the Sea - Charles Causley

21 days left to listen

1 hour, 14 minutes

Last on

Last Sunday 18:15

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01

    Gustav Holst

    Somerset Rhapsody (excerpt)

    Performer: London Symphony Orchestra, Richard Hickox (conductor).
    • CHANDOS CHAN9420.
    • Tr2.
  • Thomas Hardy

    Weathers (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • Charles Causley

    The Seasons, read by John Nettles

  • 00:03


    Prussia Cove

    Performer: Spiro.
    • 3.
  • 00:05

    Anne Dudley

    Theme from Poldark (excerpt)

    Performer: Chamber Orchestra of London, Anne Dudley (conductor).
    • SONY 88875096792.
    • Tr6.
  • Thomas Hardy

    Beeny Cliff, read by John Nettles

  • 00:07

    Gerald Finzi

    When I set out for Lyonesse

    Performer: Benjamin Luxon (baritone), David Willinson (piano).
    • BELART 4614912.
    • Tr13.
  • 00:09

    Anon 12th/13th century

    A vous Tristan

    Performer: Anne Azéma (soprano), Cheryl Ann Fulton (harp), Jesse Lepkoff (flute) [Boston Camerata, directed by Joel Cohen].
    • ERATO ECD75528.
    • Tr16.
  • Alfred, Lord Tennyson

    Idylls of the King (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • 00:15

    Arnold Bax

    Tintagel (excerpt)

    Performer: Royal Scottish National Orchestra, David Lloyd-Jones (conductor).
    • NAXOS 8.557145.
    • Tr1.
  • H.V. Morton

    In Search of England (excerpt), read by John Nettles

  • 00:20

    Charles Villiers Stanford

    Drake's Drum (Songs of the Sea)

    Performer: Gerald Finley (baritone), BBC National Chorus of Wales, BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Richard Hickox (conductor).
    • CHANDOS CHSA 5043.
    • Tr12.
  • Alice Oswald

    Dart (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • 00:26

    Malcolm Arnold

    Cornish Dance No. 1

    Performer: Philharmonia, Bryden Thomson (conductor).
    • CHANDOS CHAN8867.
    • Tr13.
  • 00:29

    Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons, Adrian Utley


    Performer: Portishead.
    • GO BEAT 8285222.
    • Tr1.
  • 00:33

    Gustav Holst

    Egdon Heath (excerpt)

    Performer: BBC Symphony Orchestra, Andrew David (conductor).
    • TELDEC 4509-94541-2.
    • Tr8.
  • Thomas Hardy

    Egdon Heath (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • John Betjeman

    Dawlish, read by John Nettles

  • 00:47

    Vivian Ellis

    Coronation Scot

    Performer: New London Orchestra, Ronald Corp (conductor).
    • HYPERION CDA66868.
    • Tr16.
  • Enid Blyton

    Five on a Treasure Island (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • 00:51


    Lifeboat Girl

    Performer: The Fisherman’s Friends.
    • CLOVELLY CLCD12702.
    • Tr18.
  • Samuel Taylor Coleridge

    Lines composed while climbing the left ascent of Brockley Coombe, May 1795, read by John Nettles

  • 00:54

    Ralph Vaughan Williams

    Linden Lea

    Performer: The Yetties.
    • YETTIES YETCD3012.
    • Tr10.
  • Elizabeth-Jane Burnett

    Grassing (excerpt), read by Sarah Parish

  • Sylvia Plath

    Letter, read by Sarah Parish

  • W.H. Hudson

    The Land's End (excerpt), read by John Nettles

  • 01:03

    Dame Ethel Smyth

    The Wreckers (Prelude to Act 2 :On the cliffs of Cornwall)

    Orchestra: BBC Philharmonic. Conductor: Odaline de la Martinez.
    • CD2 Tr1.
  • Charles Causley

    Grave by the Sea, read by John Nettles


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