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Woman's Hour. 15 Minute Drama
Shirley (Monday to Friday, 10:45 AM / 7:45 PM)
Charlotte Brontë ... Lesley Sharp
Shirley ... Jemima Rooper
Caroline ... Joanne Froggatt
Robert Moore ... Joseph Kloska
Louis Moore ... Joel MacCormack
Mrs Pryor ... Christine Kavanagh
Helstone ... Sean Murray
Hortense Moore ... Priyanga Burford
Mr Sympson ... David Seddon
Director ... Tracey Neale
Adaptor ... Rachel Joyce
Rachel Joyce, author of The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, dramatises Charlotte Brontë's tale of romantic entanglements and turbulent times in the Yorkshire of 1811.
"Something unromantic as a Monday morning." And so begins this passionate love story ...
Set against a Yorkshire industrial background, Charlotte Bronte's powerful second novel is also an impassioned plea for social equality - for workers and women alike. Set during the time of the Luddite unrest, two strands weave together. One, the struggles of workers against mill owners, the other involving the romantic entanglements of the two heroines - Shirley Keelder and Caroline Helstone. It is the friendship of these two women, and the contrast between their situations, that lies at the heart of the piece. Many believe the character of Shirley was written for, and about, Charlotte's sister, Emily, who was dying as Charlotte wrote the novel.
Like The Professor, Villette and The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, produced by the same team, this is an earthy, vivid and poignant re-telling of one of the lesser-known Brontë classics. The scenes of dangerous social unrest and conflict and love are as relevant today as when the novel was published. It's a story of friendship and love, longing and loss. A rollicking good story with plenty of cliffhangers to keep the listener hooked to the very end.
Cousins 1/10 Charlotte Brontë's tale of romantic entanglements set against turbulent times in Yorkshire.
Caroline Goes Visiting 2/10 Caroline receives an invitation to meet Shirley Keelder, new owner of the manor house.
Good Works 3/10 Shirley questions Caroline, when she discovers that her friend has lock of Robert's hair.
Whitsuntide 4/10 Shirley's charity has begun to alleviate the suffering of the poor in Briarfield.
A Proposal 5/10 The Rioters have stormed Robert's mill, and Shirley and Caroline wait anxiously for news.
The Valley of the Shadow of Death 6/10 Robert has suddenly left Yorkshire, unaware that Caroline has fallen into a deep sickness.
The First Blue Stocking 7/10 Shirley is horrified that her uncle is determined to find her a husband of his choosing.
News 8/10 Something is very wrong with Shirley but she refuses to tell anybody what ails her.
Confessions 9/10 As they wait to hear Robert's fate, Shirley tells Caroline why she has been so secretive.
The Winding Up 10/10 It is a time of change, and decisions need to be made.