News - Paradise Lost


Sir Ian McKellen will play 17th century poet John Milton in an exclusive adaptation of the writer’s epic poem Paradise Lost on BBC Radio 4 this March...

Joined by Frances Barber as his wife Elizabeth, McKellen will act as a narrator for the two-part drama, which has been adapted by award-winning British poet Michael Symmons Roberts.

Broadcast on Radio 4 at the beginning of Holy Week, Paradise Lost is one of English literature’s most seminal works. First published in 1667, the poem begins with Satan being cast into hell and portrays the Fall of Man. In this adaptation, Satan is played by Simon Russell Beale.

The full cast includes Jonathan Keeble as Beelzebub, Ashley Margolis as Adam, Emily Pithon as Eve, David Seddon as Christ, Conrad Nelson as Raphael and Russell Dixon as God.

Sir Ian McKellen said: “One of the great rewards of this project, apart from working with Michael and Sue and Frances of course, is that I have renewed faith in the work - it is a great, great poem. Being written by a blind man it has special relevance to a radio audience, as it is all in the sound of the words, not in the look of the words on the page. I think that is the revelation to me, that if you speak Paradise Lost out loud, you’ll begin to recognise what a truly great poem it is.”

Paradise lost will be on Radio 4 on Saturday 24 March 2.30pm-4pm and Sunday 25 March 3pm-4pm

Produced by Susan Roberts for BBC Radio 4

Image - Sir Ian Mc Kellen Frances Barber - Credit BBC and Trishia Yourkevich