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Dennis Potter's unproduced screenplay of D. M. Thomas' award-winning novel, plus bonus documentary.

The annals of movie history are full of lost treasures - spectacular scripts from world-renowned writers that could have been classics, had they only been made. Now, for the first time, some of these forgotten gems have been brought to life, fully realised as vivid, cinematic radio productions. Scripted by major 20th-century writers, including Harold Pinter, Arthur Miller, Alfred Hitchcock and Dennis Potter, they star a host of A-list actors and feature richly evocative, atmospheric soundtracks.

The White Hotel, one of seven 'unmade movies' available on audio, centres around circus performer Lisa, who visits famous Berlin psychoanalyst Dr Probst to discover the cause of her mysterious breast and pelvic pains. Reading her sexually charged journal, Probst concludes that the answer lies in her past. But then Lisa reveals her unsettling premonitions - 'I see what is going to happen. And what is going to happen cannot be endured.' Is her trauma really the result of childhood memories or a dark vision of the future?

Lauded for his groundbreaking TV dramas, Dennis Potter also wrote several acclaimed screenplays, including Gorky Park. The White Hotel was taken up by numerous directors, from Bertolucci to David Lynch, with actors including Barbra Streisand and Meryl Streep slated to star - but the project defeated them all. Now, directed by Jon Amiel, who worked with Potter on The Singing Detective, this haunting, hallucinatory drama has finally found an audience. Anne-Marie Duff (His Dark Materials) stars as Lisa, with Bill Paterson (Fleabag) as Probst and Simon McBurney (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy) as the narrator. It is preceded by a 15-minute documentary, The Long Road to the White Hotel, telling the story of the many failed attempts to film Thomas' novel and the making of the radio production.

NB: contains strong language and sexual scenes

Production credits

Written by D. M. Thomas

Original screenplay by Denis Potter under licence from Briarpatch Limited L.P

Directed by Jon Amiel

Produced by Laurence Bowen and Peter Ettedgui

Sound design: Wilfredo Acosta

A Dancing Ledge production for BBC Radio 4


Lisa - Anne-Marie Duff

Probst - Bill Paterson

Narrator - Simon McBurney

The Lover - David Gyasi

Victor - Nigel Lindsay

Aunt Magda - Morwenna Banks

Vera/Old Woman/Wife - Jasmine Jones

Various - Wayne Forester

Officer/Captain/Maitre d'/Old Man - Nick Underwood

Koyla - Felix Jamieson

Little Lisa - Tillie Murray

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8th September 2018

The Long Road to the White Hotel

With DM Thomas, Amanda Bale and Jon Amiel

Produced by Philippa Geering and Geoff Bird

An Overtone Production for BBC Radio 4

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8th September 2018

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

Critic reviews

"Incendiary." (Radio Times

What listeners say about Unmade Movies: Dennis Potter's The White Hotel

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