What time is Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys on BBC Radio 4?

Lenny Henry stars in new Neil Gaiman adaptation Anansi Boys, also starring Julian Rhind-Tutt, Jacob Anderson, Nathan Stewart-Jarrett and more

Anansi Boys

As has become a tradition over the past four years, this Christmas will see BBC Radio 4 release a starry adaptation of one of author Neil Gaiman’s most popular works, brought to life by regular collaborator Dirk Maggs.

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This time, it’s Gaiman’s 2005 book Anansi Boys getting the radio treatment starring Lenny Henry, Jacob Anderson and Nathan Stewart-Jarrett. It’s set to be a must-listen for fans of Amazon’s American Gods.

When is Anansi Boys on BBC Radio 4?

The six-part drama will begin on Christmas Day at 11:30pm on Radio 4 and will be stripped across the next six days. The first five parts will air at 11:30pm with the final episode broadcast on Saturday 30th at 2:30pm – all on Radio 4. Read about all the best shows on TV this Christmas.

How can I listen to Anansi Boys if I’m not in the UK?

The series will be available straight after broadcast on BBC iPlayer Radio, which is available for anyone around the world. Find out more on the iPlayer Radio website, or download the app for mobile listening.

What will happen in Anansi Boys?

Lenny Henry at the Anansi Boys cast readthrough (BBC, HF)
Lenny Henry at the Anansi Boys cast readthrough (BBC)

“Fat” Charlie Nancy always had a strained relationship with his eccentric father – but when Mr Nancy drops dead onstage, Charlie discovers that his dad may have some secrets even he didn’t know about.

The official synopsis can be read below:

When Fat Charlie’s dad named something, it stuck. Like calling Fat Charlie “Fat Charlie.” Even now, 20 years later, Charlie Nancy can’t shake that name, one of the many embarrassing “gifts” his father bestowed — before he dropped dead on a karaoke stage and ruined Fat Charlie’s life.

Mr. Nancy left Fat Charlie things. Things like the tall, good-looking stranger who appears on Charlie’s doorstep, who appears to be the brother he never knew. A brother as different from Charlie as night is from day, a brother who’s going to show Charlie how to lighten up and have a little fun … just like Dear Old Dad. And all of a sudden, life starts getting very interesting for Fat Charlie.

Because, you see, Charlie’s dad wasn’t just any dad. He was Anansi, a trickster god, the spider-god. Anansi is the spirit of rebellion, able to overturn the social order, create wealth out of thin air, and baffle the devil. Some said he could cheat even Death himself.

Who’s in the cast of Anansi Boys?

Anansi Boys
The cast of Anansi Boys on BBC Radio 4 (BBC)

Lenny Henry stars as the titular Anansi/Mr Nancy, the trickster Spider-God who previously appeared in Neil Gaiman’s novel and TV series American Gods (in the TV series he’s played by Orlando Jones). Henry was actually the inspiration for Gaiman’s original book, as the author explains below.

“When I was writing the novel I had Lenny’s voice in my head and I’m delighted that in this dramatisation Lenny is Mr Nancy and Anansi the Spider,” Gaiman said. “To me he is inseparable from this project.”

Game of Thrones’ Jacob Anderson and Misfits’ Nathan Stewart-Jarrett star as Nancy’s sons Charlie and Spider, with Tanya Moodie, Julian Rhind-Tutt, Joseph Marcell, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Cecilia Noble, Angela Wynter, Adjoa Andoh, Sheila Atim, Pippa Bennett-Warner and Earl Cameron rounding out the cast.

How is Anansi Boys connected to American Gods?

As noted above, Anansi the Spider-God makes an appearance in Gaiman’s earlier smash-hit novel, where he’s also known as Mr Nancy and described in a similar fashion. As such, Anansi Boys can be considered as something of the sequel to American Gods, though there is little other crossover between the two stories.

The character is played by Orlando Jones in the Starz/Amazon adaptation of American Gods.

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Should I listen to Anansi Boys?

If you enjoyed the previous adaptations of Gaiman’s work (which include Neverwhere, How the Marquis Got His Coat Back, Stardust and Good Omens, the book he co-authored with Terry Pratchett) then this audio drama is well worth tuning in for. And, with Gaiman also working on a Good Omens TV series, there’s never been a better time to get to know his work.