Barry Lyndon BBC Audio Drama BBC 2003

First Broadcast in Sunday 5 & 12 January 2003 as ‘Barry Lyndon’ or ‘The Luck of Barry Lyndon’ or later reissued it under the title ‘The Memoirs of Barry Lyndon, Esq’ is by William Makepeace Thackeray. It was first published in serial form in 1844.

This audio drama was dramatised by Don McCamphill and directed Lawrence Jackson. It stars Gerard McSorley, Andrew Scott, Tina Kellegher, Sheila Hancock, Kenneth Cranham, and David Kelly as the Chevalier de Balibari with Jamie Foreman, Darragh Kelly, Don Wycherley, Mark Lambert, Frank O’Sullivan, Doreen Keogh, Kevin Flood, Eanna MacLiam and Alice Barry.

It features Redmond Barry of Bally Barry born to a ruined Irish family with a rather mad mother who seems to be living in the past glories when they were a family of name mean’t more than debt. Redmond sees himself as a bit of a gentleman and after a duel and a supposed death is forced to flee…it is his adventures we follow as he travels to dublin feigning aristocratic roots, but is conned and runs up huge debts and is forced to join the army and ends up gambling with his Uncle Cornelius around Europe.

Ever more in debt it is decided that he needs to marry for money and he pursues although now days I think it would be called stalking the Countess Lyndon and it is here he seems to lose the plot, any ideals or pretence of being a gentleman are long gone, it is gambling, debt, drinking and espousal abuse all the way from now on.

Barry Lyndon, now taking his wife’s name becomes so assured of his importance with his head firmly placed up his own rear that he cannot understand how the English aristocracy despise him so.

It finishes with Barry in a debtors jail where he will eventually die, nagged by his mother but still in the pretence of a fantasy world where he will be remembered as a hero as opposed to the thug that he became.

I found this to be an interesting piece and usually with stories there is a happy ending but none arrived which left me a little thoughtful as to the meaning and journey taken in the story.

Very well acted and again well worth a listen.