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Summary

Harold Pinter's unproduced screenplay of Karen Blixen's intriguing short story of love and loss.

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 Dreaming Child, one of seven 'unmade movies' available on audio, is an eerie, enigmatic drama set in Bristol in 1868. Emily Carter, married to a wealthy man, is haunted by her first love, who died at sea. Unable to have children, she and her husband, Tom, adopt a young slum child - but Jack is no ordinary boy and seems to have an uncanny knowledge of his new home and family....

Renowned for his critically acclaimed plays, Harold Pinter also wrote many outstanding film scripts, including Accident, Betrayal and The Pumpkin Eater. The Dreaming Child was commissioned in 1997 by actress Julia Ormond, who wanted to produce and direct, but the project never got the green light - until now. Lydia Leonard (Last Christmas) stars as Emily, with Bertie Carvel (The Sister) as Tom, Rose Leslie (Game of Thrones) as Peggy and Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) as the narrator, who provides the 'establishing shots' - the stage directions and descriptions from the screenplay. Moving, mesmerising and mysterious, this remarkable production is a triumphant fulfilment of Pinter's great artistic vision.

Production credits

Written by Harold Pinter

Based on 'The Dreaming Child' by Isak Dinesen (Karen Blixen)

Adapted by Joanna Hogg and Laurence Bowen

Directed by Joanna Hogg

Produced by Laurence Bowen

Sound design: Wilfredo Acosta

A Feelgood Fiction production for BBC Radio 4

Cast

Narrator - Anne Reid

Emily - Lydia Leonard

Tom - Bertie Carvel

Charlie - Joshua Silver

Mrs Jones - Joanna Scanlan

Miss Scott - Susan Woolridge

Jack - Jack Hollington

Peggy - Rose Leslie

Bess - Bryony Hannah

Mr Rudd - Karl Johnson

Mr Carter - Malcolm Sinclair

Children - Flynn Allen, Esme Allen-Quarmby, Isabella Blake-Thomas and Joey Price

First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 7th March 2015

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

Critic reviews

"An important addition to the Pinter canon." (The Stage)

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What listeners say about Unmade Movies: Harold Pinter's The Dreaming Child

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An Excellent Find!

An excellent production of a totally unknown play. A gripping presentation of what is often a simple, predictable storyline.