Following the news that Neil Gaiman’s fantasy drama Neverwhere will get its first full outing on Radio 4 this Christmas, we have some behind-the-scenes shots from the first star-studded table read-through.
The cast must be one of the most impressive ever assembled for a British radio drama, and includes Hollywood A-listers like James McAvoy, Benedict Cumberbatch and Christopher Lee, alongside other homegrown talent such as Natalie Dormer, David Harewood, Sophie Okonedo, Johnny Vegas, Romola Garai, Anthony Head, Don Gilet and Bernard Cribbins.
The rehearsal was the only time they were all brought together in one place – after the initial read-through the in-demand actors came into the studio at different times to record their parts – so while the snaps taken by producer Heather Larmour may not be of professional quality, they are very rare.
Even the cast members themselves were impressed (which is why you can see Sophie Okondeo taking some pics of her own), with Natalie Dormer recalling “We were astounded. You saw the cast looking around and it’s amazing to see the likes of Benedict [Cumberbatch] and James [McAvoy] a little bit star-struck by Christopher Lee at the table.”
Sophie Okonedo takes some snaps of her own as Benedict Cumberbatch, Romolo Garai and Don Gilet get direction
The star-studded cast of Neverwhere together in one place, once and never again
Dramatist and director Dirk Maggs and his unmistakeable hair alongside Natalie Dormer and James McAvoy, as Sophie Okonedo enjoys the performance
Sir Christopher Lee chats with Homeland’s David Harewood
First aired in March on Radio 4 and 4 Extra, Neverwhere is adapted from Doctor Who writer Gaiman’s novel by Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy radio producer Dirk Maggs, who also created the evocative sound-effects that bring the magical subterranean world of London Below to life.
The six-part adaptation starts on Radio 4 with a 60-minute episode at 11pm on Christmas Day, Wednesday 25 December, and continues with five 30-minute instalments on consecutive nights at 11:30pm, Thursday 26 to Monday 30.