Radio Plays

Benedict Cumberbatch has built up an impressive back catalogue of work in radio drama having appeared in a variety of productions over the years.

The list of radio plays in which Benedict has appeared (along with any available links to listen on-line) is below:

My Dear Bessie – starring Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey  – Buy on Amazon
Benedict Cumberbatch and Louise Brealey read a love story in letters, played out against the backdrop of the Second World War.

A small blue box opened in 2008 revealed a wartime world of love, longing and frustration.
On September 5th 1943, Chris Barker, a signalman stationed near Tobruk in North Africa, decided to write to a former work colleague, Bessie Moore, a Morse code interpreter at the Foreign Office back in London. The unexpected warmth of Bessie’s reply changed their lives forever.
Chris and Bessie’s love letters first appeared in Simon Garfield’s book To The Letter. They have toured literary festivals as part of Letters Live before being published in a book, My Dear Bessie.

Copenhagen (Werner Heisenberg)

Benedict Cumberbatch, Greta Scacchi and Simon Russell Beale star in Michael Frayn’s award-winning play about the controversial 1941 meeting between physicists Bohr and Heisenberg. Copenhagen, Autumn 1941. The two presiding geniuses of quantum physics, Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg meet for the first time since the breakout of war.
Danish physicist Bohr and his wife, Margrethe, live in Nazi-occupied Denmark; their visitor, Heisenberg, is German. Two old friends, now on opposing sides, who between them have the ability to change the course of history.
But why has Heisenberg – Bohr’s former protégé – come to Copenhagen?

Rumpole of the Bailey radio dramas

Buy on Amazon – Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders  

Rumpole: The Sleeping Partners and other stories

Tom and Viv (Tom)

Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the heart-breaking story of TS Eliot’s marriage to Viv Haigh-Wood. Tom and Viv focuses on the doomed marriage of the young TS Eliot and the charismatic Vivienne Haigh-Wood. This moving, highly-charged study has been described as ‘one of the most important plays of the 20th century’. (Stars Lia Williams as Viv and David Haig as Maurice) 

Metamorphosis (narrator)
Franza Kafka’s surreal novel in which a man is transformed into an insect. Read by Benedict Cumberbatch. Buy on Amazon

Thrilling Stories of the Railway (narrator)
The Affair of the Birmingham Bank – Can Edwardian sleuth Thorpe Hazell foil a gold bullion robbery? (Youtube)

The Stolen Necklace –  A passenger begs for Thorpe Hazell’s help after her aunt’s diamonds are stolen 

The Affair of the Corridor Express – A multi-millionaire’s son is taken from a moving train, so Hazell must find the kidnappers

St Gilbert Murrell’s Picture – Thorpe Hazell investigates a disappearing wagon of valuable paintings from a train 

The Affair of the German Dispatch Box – Amateur sleuth and railway expert Thorpe Hazell has a plan to retrieve a vital document 

Good Evening (Dudley Moore)
Roy Smiles’ celebration of the Beyond the Fringe team takes a funny and affectionate look at how four young men from Oxbridge changed the face of British comedy (Also stars Matt Addis as Alan Bennett, Rory Kinnear as Peter Cook and Jonathan Aris (Anderson in Sherlock) as Jonathan Miller)

Cumberbatchweb Review of Good Evening

Spellbound (Dr Murchison)
Dramatised by Amanda Dalton from the Hitchcock film script by Ben Hecht and the book by Francis Beeding. Staff at Landry House in North Yorkshire are anticipating the arrival of Dr Murchison, who is to replace the retiring head, Dr Edwardes. The rather odd new doctor arrives and forms an unlikely but seemingly strong immediate bond with new trainee Dr Constance Sedgewick (Also stars Hattie Morahan) 

Chatterton – The Allington Solution (Thomas Chatterton)
Who or what killed the boy genius Thomas Chatterton? For over two hundred years, everyone thought he committed suicide, a neglected poet driven to despair. Everyone, that is, except Jeremy Allington, a literary historian, who thinks the prevailing wisdom is nonsense. Only he isn’t quite as polite as that … Dangerously close to losing his job and his partner, Allington is determined to prove that history is not as simple as some historians would have us believe. Set in both the present day and the 18th century, Chatterton: The Allington Solution is the first play for BBC Radio 4 by the acclaimed writer, biographer and historian, Peter Ackroyd (Stars Adrian Scarborough as Jeremy Allington) 

At War with Wellington (Duke of Wellington)
Radio series, recalling Wellington’s Peninsular War campaign against Napoleon’s forces (Benedict appears in the docu-dramas)

The Last Days of Grace (GF)
Easter Monday, 1908. And there’s snow on the ground. An aging icon, W.G. Grace, contemplates another day in his life-long cricketing obsession. He arrives at the Oval and can’t quite bear to sit in the clubhouse to meet the usual people. Instead he trudges out in to the cold to face a different type of questioning. Stars Kenneth Cranham as W.G.Grace 

The Pillow Book  (Tadanobu)
Robert Forrest’s thriller and love story set in the court of the Empress Sadako in 10th-century Japan.Within the palace walls, a series of disturbing crimes throws the court into confusion and unrest. Sei Shonagon’s brilliance and wit is called upon for more than her Empress’s amusement. 

The Possessed (Nikolai Stavrogin) By Lou Stein, from the book by Fyodor Dostoevsky.
A group of dissidents and self-proclaimed revolutionaries are intent on causing chaos in a small town in 1870s Russia – spurred on by a demonic and manipulative ringleader (Stars John Sessions, Susannah York, Paul McGann, Anne Marie-Duff, Dexter Fletcher & Roger Lloyd Pack) 

The Cocktail Party (Peter Quiipe)
A play by TS Elliot which focuses on a troubled married couple who, through the intervention of a mysterious stranger, settle their problems and move on with their lives. 

Rainy Season by DJ Taylor 

Seven Women (Tovey)
Seven Women is a revised version of JM Barrie’s earlier play “The Legend of Lenore” which was the first act of “The Adored One” first produced in London in 1913. In this piece Mr and Mrs Tovey are a ‘pleasant couple of agreeable age’. The play precedes a dinner party at their Chelsea home. Captain Rattrey (Inky Paws) arrives early and engages in banter with his old school friend Tovey (Bobbin) about which women are coming to the party. Tovey says that one of them is a murderess, and challenges old Inky Paws to work out which one. (Stars Bill Paterson as JM Barrie, Diana Quick as Mrs Tovey,Harriet Walter as Leonora and Alexander Armstrong as Rattray 

The Biggest Secret (Captain Rob Collins)
In the early hours of June 5th 1944 Captain Rob Collins, who is languishing in hospital, receives a call that will take him on a journey through England that will change his life.

The Odyssey (Telemachus)
BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the Odyssey starring Tim McInnery as Odysseus, Amanda Redman as Penelope. Janet McTeer as Athena and Bertie Carvel as Hermes

The Raj Quartet (Nigel Rowan)
Dramatisation of the four-volume novel sequence, written by Paul Scott, about the concluding years of the British Raj in India 

Kepler (Johannes Kepler)
John Banville’s Kepler explores the clash between two of the 17th century’s leading Astronomers – the assured, prickly and self-mocking Johannes Kepler, and the aristocratic, overbearing and secretly insecure Danish Nobleman, Tycho Brahe (Alun Armstrong), during the last year of Brahe’s life. 

Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel

Little Red Hen – Benedict reads Little Red Hen for Penguin Books 

The Recruiting Officer (Worthy) By George Farquhar.
Set in Shrewsbury in 1704 just after the Battle of Blenheim, the play follows the adventures of two grenadiers who arrive in a small county town and embark on a recruiting drive. Captain Plume and his recruiting sergeant set about “persuading” the local men to sign up and “take the Queen’s shilling”.