The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea & The Story of Is: Three BBC Radio Children’s Classic Full-Cast Dramatisations

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
June 2023
4 hours 53 minutes
BBC Radio full-cast dramatisations of three of the classic novels from Joan Aiken's 'Wolves Chronicles'

One of the finest storytellers of her time, Joan Aiken wrote over 100 books for both adults and children. Among her best-known works are the 'Wolves Chronicles', a sequence of novels set in an alternate 19th century England ruled by Stuart kings. Included here are three tales from that magical, wolf-infested world - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, Black Hearts in Battersea and The Story of Is.

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Winter, 1832. The great manor of Willoughby Chase lies blanketed by snow, and predators lurk in the darkness. With the opening of the Channel Tunnel, ravenous wolves have overrun the country, and young Bonnie Green can hear their hideous howling. But she and her cousin Sylvia soon find themselves facing an even greater danger, in the shape of their devious governess, Miss Slighcarp. Aided by their friend Simon, can they foil her evil plan?

Black Hearts in Battersea - Determined to become a painter, Simon sets off to London - but no sooner has he arrived than he becomes caught up in a fiendish Hanoverian plot to overthrow the King. Kidnapped and sent away to sea, he faces shipwreck, assassination plots, attacks by wolves and a hair-raising hot air balloon escape. With the help of fellow orphan Sophie, and the resourceful Dido Twite, will he save the day?

The Story of Is - Sent by King Richard IV to search for his missing son, Dido Twite's sister Isabett takes the Playland Express to the north of a divided England. There, she finds an underground city where children work as slaves in vast coal mines. This is the domain of Gold Kingy, a man who will stop at nothing in his pursuit of power - but he has reckoned without Is and her newfound friends...

These spellbinding adventures feature a star cast, including Gosford Park's Emily Watson, Game of Thrones' Joe Dempsie and legendary actor and comedian Rik Mayall.

Text copyright © Joan Aiken 1962 (The Wolves of Willoughby Chase), 1964 (Black Hearts in Battersea), 1992 (Is)
Production credits
Written by Joan Aiken

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase
Cast: Jane Lapotaire, Emily Watson, Abigail Docherty, John Rowe, John Turner, Gavin Muir, Kristen Milward, Tom Bevan, Jilly Bond, Eva Stuart, David Antrobus, Ian Masters, Derek Waring, George Parsons, Elaine Claxton, Natasha Pyne, Becky Hindley
Dramatised by Eric Pringle
Directed by Cherry Cookson
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 30 December 1994

Black Hearts in Battersea
Cast: Joe Dempsie, Nicola Miles-Wildin, Emerald O'Hanrahan, John Rowe, Sheila Reid, Ben Crowe, Annabelle Dowler, Rhys Jennings, Tessa Nicholson, Sam Pamphilon, Nigel Hastings, Bruce Alexander, Joseph Cohen Cole, Piers Wehner, Kate Layden, John Biggins,
Ewan Hooper
Dramatised by Lin Coghlan. Directed by Marc Beeby
First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 23-24 December 1999

The Story of Is
Cast: John Rowe, Alison Pettitt, Rik Mayall, Freddie Jones
With John Hartley, Gordon Reid, Rachel Atkins, Alastair Danson, Robert Harper, Gerard McDermott, Anthony Ofoegbu, Leila Campbell, George Maguire, Jenny Lee, Stephen Thorne, Carolyn Jones, Iwan Thomas, Christopher Scott, Richard Pearce, Tom Bevan, Brian Parr and children from the Italia Conti School
Dramatised by Eric Pringle. Directed by David Blount. Music by Neil Brand

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15 March-5 April 1998

© 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd. (P) 2023 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd
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