BBC Radio 3 has announced a new series of audio dramas, with actors including David Suchet, Christopher Eccleston and Toby Jones set to star.
The scripts that have been commissioned include a drama written by Maxine Peake exploring an all-female militia in Northern Syria, and a new Roy Williams audio play focusing on the social history of Notting Hill neighbourhood Notting Dale.
The series also includes new versions of Shakespeare plays Othello and Henry IV, and the world premiere of a never produced screenplay from Clockwork Orange scribe Anthony Burgess, starring Eccleston.
Meanwhile Suchet will play composer William Bird in a drama which explores his life through five different encounters, and Simon Russell Beale will star in an original drama inspired by the 1939 film The Private Lives Of Elizabeth And Essex
The station’s controller, Alan Davey, said, “Radio drama is a unique and brilliant art form with a long and treasured history in this country, and something at which we excel.
“What we do on Radio 3 is nothing less than a National Theatre of the Imagination, allowing us to explore personal and political conflict, to roam continents of the earth and of the spirit, to give our listeners new insights and ways of understanding.
“From the community of Notting Dale, through the internal exile and music of William Byrd, to two men isolated from each other on a sinking boat in inhospitable waters, we tell stories that that shed a light on what it is to be human.”
Meanwhile Eccleston said of his role, “I’m chuffed to bits to be playing Schreber in Anthony Burgess’s unproduced screenplay.
“The role was originally meant to be played by a personal acting hero of mine – Burt Lancaster – and deals with male mental health and challenges traditional gender roles and thinking.”