Dead Souls BBC Radio 4 Audio Drama 2006

Мёртвые души, myortvyje dushi or Dead Souls as it is known to us is a novel by Nikolai Gogol which was first published in 1842.

As you may have surmised Nikolai was not from our fair shore but that of Mother Russia. He was born on 31st March 1809 and was not long-lived and died at the rather young age of 41 on the 4th March 1852.

The first part of Dead Souls was ready and under supervision by Gogol was printed in In 1841. Apparently the book, The Adventures of Chichikov,  instantly established his reputation as the greatest prose writer in his mother tongue, a great compliment indeed.

So in 2006  the novel was dramatised for BBC radio 4 in two parts and broadcast of 4th April. It made me laugh from beginning to end, i’m not sure if it was meant to be as comedic as it was (it also had a touch of surrealism about it) but it was very good and light relief after ‘No Name’ by Wilkie Collins!

Michael Palin narrates the story which in itself tells you the type of humour that runs through it, it has a touch of the pythons about it but it also has Mark Heap as Chichikov who is also very funny.

We also find out the narrator is actually to be following Chichikov by sleeping in his bed and just being where ever he is and helping/irritating Chichikov with his running exposition.

Dan Rebellato’s brilliant adaptation is in two hourly parts and directed by Polly Thomas. As well as Michael Palin and Mark Heap it also star Toby Hadoke As Nozdryov and Tentetnikov, an idiotic twit and daft braggart.

A most unusual yet highly funny adaptation.


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