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Acting on the radio is challenging, inspiring, delicate and always a privilege.


The eight-hour dramatisation of Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman was broadcast in thirteen episodes from September 18th - 25th 2011 on BBC Radio 4.

Dramatised for radio by Jonathan Myerson and Mike Walker and translated by Robert Chandler.

The production was directed and produced by Alison Hindell.  The original music was composed by John Hardy with Rob Whitehead and performed by Oliver Wilson-Dickson, Tom Jackson, Stacey Blythe and Max Pownall

The plays was broadcast twice daily in 15 and 45 minute installments.  They took every drama slot during the week including the Woman's Hour Drama slot as well as the Afternoon Play and Classic Serial. 

The production is available exclusively as a download and can be ordered via

About the Book.

Video's of David Tennant and Kevin Branagh talking about the production.

Episode Cast and excerpts.


Radio 4 is planned events both on and off air to introduce the novel and the radio version.

On air there was be a documentary - The Life and Fate of Vasily Grossman  and readings from Grossman's work as a distinguished war correspondent which made him a household name in Russia.

They ran a day of public events in Oxford on  September 9, 2011 to bring together some of the experts on and enthusiasts for Life and Fate.  It was described as a kind of small Life and Fate festival, if you like, linked to an academic symposium on Grossman's work organised jointly by Oxford and Aberystwyth Universities which takes place the following day.

Life and Fate: The Radio Dramatisation - September 9, 2011 at 10am

Bridget Kendall discusses the radio version of Life and Fate with its dramatisers, Jonathan Myerson and Mike Walker, and its principle director, Alison Hindell, who is Head of Audio Drama at the BBC.

Life and Fate: Grossman at War - September 9, 2011 at 12pm

Mark Damazer discusses the novel's historical context and Grossman's extraordinary life with leading specialists including Robert Chandler, John Garrard and Lyuba Vinogradova.

Life and Fate: Start the Week - September 9, 2011 at 3pm Andrew Marr presents a special edition of Start the Week reflecting Life and Fate.

Life and Fate: The Novel Set Free - September 9, 2011 at 5pm

Bridget Kendall explores the literary context and reputation of Life and Fate with Zinovy Zinik, Linda Grant and Francis Spufford. The session includes a reading by Janet Suzman.

The Radio 4 day will include a recording of Start the Week with Andrew Marr.

There will also be a chance to hear from some of those behind the Radio 4 dramatisation, from writers who have championed the novel, and from leading specialists on its historical and biographical background.

Andrew Marr also wrote up a blog about the production.

Bringing Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate with Kenneth Branagh to Radio 4 by Alison Hindell, Head of Audio Drama

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