The Birling family are spending a happy evening celebrating the engagement of Sheila Birling to Gerald Croft - a marriage that will result in the merging of two successful local businesses. Yet just when everything seems to be going so well, they receive a surprise visit from an Inspector Goole who is investigating the suicide of a young girl. As the Inspector reveals more about the circumstances that led to the death of Eva Smith, each member of the family comes under the spotlight, and questions of guilt and responsibility are raised...Toby Jones, David Calder, Frances Barber and Morven Christie are amongst the cast in this BBC Radio 4 production from 2010. The Classic Radio Theatre range presents notable radio productions of much-loved plays by some of the most renowned playwrights, and starring some of our finest actors. 2 CDs. 1 hr 30 mins.
John Boynton Priestley was born in Yorkshire in 1894. He knew early on that he wanted to become a writer, but decided against going to university as he thought he would get a better feel for the world around him away from academia. Instead, he became a junior clerk with a local wool firm at the age of 16. When the First World War broke out, Priestley joined the infantry. After the war, he gained a degree from Cambridge University, then moved to London to work as a freelance writer. He wrote successful articles and essays, then published the first of many novels, The Good Companions, in 1929. He wrote his first play, Dangerous Corner, in 1932 and went on to write 50 more including Time and the Conways (1937), I Have Been There Before (1938), When We Are Married (1938) and An Inspector Calls (1945). Much of his work was groundbreaking and controversial. He included new ideas about possible parallel universes and strong political messages. During the 1930s Priestley became very concerned about the consequences of social inequality in Britain, and in 1942 he and others set up a new political party, the Common Wealth Party, which argued for public ownership of land, greater democracy and a new morality in politics. The party merged with the Labour Party in 1945, but Priestley was influential in developing the idea of the Welfare State which began to be put in place at the end of the war. He believed that further wars could only be avoided through cooperation and mutual respect between countries, and so became active in the early movement for a United Nations. As the nuclear arms race between West and East began in the 1950s, he helped to found CND. Throughout the Second World War he broadcast a massively popular weekly radio programme which was attacked by the Conservatives as being too left-wing. The programme was eventually cancelled by the BBC for being too critical of the Government. Priestley continued to write into the 1970s, and died in 1984.
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