4 x 60 minute episodes
MPEG-1 Layer 3
Doug Lucie's dramatisation of Wilkie Collins' detective masterpiece from 1868
Classic Serial, The Moonstone Episode 1 of 4
Doug Lucie's dramatisation of Wilkie Collins' detective masterpiece from 1868, starring Eleanor Bron as Lady Verinder and Kenneth Cranham as Sergeant Cuff, Paul Rhys as Franklin Blake and narrated by Steve Hodson as Betteridge.
Described by T.S. Eliot as the first and best of English Detective novels, The Moonstone, involves a huge diamond stolen from the forehead of an Indian deity, plundered in a siege and finally given to Rachel Verinder on her eighteenth birthday. It is said to carry a curse and mysteriously disappears on the night of the celebrations.
Are the Indian jugglers who were at the house earlier to blame? Why are they hanging around the property with a little boy they appear to be able to hypnotise? When the local police get nowhere, one of the new detective police is called for from London, and quickly finds a clue, but what is it going to tell him? Has the curse of the Moonstone brought with it suspicion and superstition to poison the happy Verinder household on the Yorkshire coast?
Classic Serial, The Moonstone Episode 2 of 4
Kenneth Cranham as Sergeant Cuff, Paul Rhys as Franklin Blake, Eleanor Bron as Lady Verinder and Steve Hodson as Betteridge star in the second episode of Doug Lucie's dramatisation of Wilkie Collins's detective masterpiece.
Sergeant Cuff begins his investigation into the missing diamond, with Betteridge the butler acting as his sidekick. The once happy household on the Yorkshire coast is thrown into disarray as the servants feel themselves suspected, especially poor Rosanna Spearman who is a reformed thief. Is she guilty just because she behaves oddly and what is it she appears to have hidden in the dreadful quicksand? Sergeant Cuff seems to think the real guilt lies elsewhere but has he any evidence? What is Rachel Verinder hiding as she refuses to speak to either the Detective or even her mother? And where is her Moonstone now? A tragedy is about to happen as the pressure of suspicion mounts.
Classic Serial, The Moonstone Episode 3 of 4
Eleanor Bron as Lady Verinder, Bill Paterson as Mr Bruff, and Marcia Warren as Miss Clack star in Episode Three of Doug Lucie's dramatisation of Wilkie Collins' detective masterpiece.
Sergeant Cuff has failed to find either the Moonstone or who stole it as the story moves to London. There, Miss Clack, a poor relation of Lady Verinder takes up the story of the missing diamond.
Miss Clack, played by Marcia Warren, is one of Wilkie Collins' best comic characters as her determination to save souls irritates everyone whom she tries to give her tracts to on subjects such as 'Satan in the Hairbrush'.
This is light relief from the intensity of the search for the thief of the Moonstone in Yorkshire. The diamond is now thought to have been put in pledge to a money lender in London who has deposited it for a year in the bank, although no one knows how it got there, Sergeant Cuff having been called off the case. Heartbroken, Franklin Blake has gone abroad. Meanwhile Rachel is still refusing to say anything about what happened that night and throws herself into an engagement but is it out of despair?
Classic Serial, The Moonstone Episode 4 of 4
Paul Rhys as Franklin Blake, Kenneth Cranham as Sergeant Cuff, Bill Paterson as Mr Bruff and Jasmine Hyde as Rachel Verinder star in Episode Four of Doug Lucie's dramatisation of Wilkie Collins's detective masterpiece.
Franklin Blake returns from abroad determined to get to the bottom of the mystery of the missing diamond and persuade Rachel to talk to him again. In Yorkshire he makes a shocking discovery at the quicksand and then sets up an amazing re-enactment of the fatal night a year ago.
Opium plays an important part in the re-enactment as it was used widely for killing pain in mid-Victorian England and in Blake's case by accident to help him sleep after stopping smoking cigars. A strange medical man called Ezra Jennings enters the story and movingly describes how opium has helped him to combat a disease for many years (which sounds like cancer but is never explained).
After finally discovering who stole the diamond, the action moves back to London as the Indians have reappeared just as the Moonstone is likely to leave the Bank at the end of the year's pledge. A chase to a pub in the East End of London ends tragically for a man in disguise and the final postscript from Mr Murthwaite tells of the diamond's final resting place back in the forehead of the Indian deity.
Franklin Blake ..... Paul Rhys
Rachel Verinder ..... Jasmine Hyde
Betteridge ..... Steve Hodson
Sergeant Cuff ..... Kenneth Cranham
Mr Bruff ..... Bill Paterson
Ezra Jennings ..... Peter Marinker
Mr Luker ..... Stephen Critchlow
Rosanna Spearman ..... Alison Pettitt
Mr Murthwaite ..... Paul Bhattacharjee
Lucy ..... Rachel Atkins
Gooseberry ..... Harrison Webb
Recorded on location by Lucinda Mason Brown
Original Music by David Chilton
Dramatised by Doug Lucie
Produced by Janet Whitaker
A Goldhawk Essential production for BBC Radio 4.