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Paradise Lost cover art

Paradise Lost

Written by: John Milton
Narrated by: Frances Barber,full cast,Ian McKellen
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Publisher's Summary

Sir Ian McKellen stars as Milton in this dramatised retelling of John Milton's epic poem about the fall of man.

Milton's biblical masterpiece, first published in 1667, is one of English literature's most seminal works. Straddling three worlds - heaven, hell and earth - it tells the gripping story of fallen angel Satan's rebellion against God, his temptation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent expulsion from the Garden of Eden.

Written to 'justify the ways of God to men', it aimed to show what caused mankind's fall and the consequences for the world, both bad and good. By reaching back to the beginning of time, Milton hoped to discover the events that had led to the political and societal upheaval of his own era - as well as using allegory to ask powerful questions about authority, government, tyranny and disobedience. In this brand-new dramatisation, Milton himself (Sir Ian McKellen) is the blind narrator grieving the loss of his wife, played by Frances Barber.

Also starring Simon Russell Beale as Satan, and adapted by award-winning poet and broadcaster Michael Symmons Roberts, this enthralling drama is a vital piece of storytelling with striking parallels to contemporary events. 

Cast and credits:    

Milton........................Sir Ian McKellen 

Elizabeth........................Frances Barber 

Satan........................Simon Russell Beale 

Beelzebub........................Jonathan Keeble 

Adam........................Ashley Margolis 

Eve........................Emily Pithon 

Christ........................David Seddon 

Raphael........................Conrad Nelson 

God........................Russell Dixon 

All other parts were played by members of the company. 

Written by John Milton. Dramatised by Michael Symmons Roberts. Produced and directed by Susan Roberts.

©2018 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2018 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What the critics say

"Devilishly good...I urge you to give it a listen." (The Telegraph)   

What listeners say about Paradise Lost

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Narrated by Ian McKellan. Need I say more?

Very well done, 10 out of 10 would recommend to anyone in love with poetry

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  • Jim
  • 2018-08-07

Fantastic!

A beautifully artistic take on Milton.

This dramatisation is fantastic!

Just keep in mind, this is not the poem in full. This is a dramatic take on the writing of the poem. It includes some of Milton's verses, but it is definitely abridged.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-07

Paradise Lost is a story you must read!!

From start to finish this epic and I mean epic poem grabs you up and take you on a journey unlike no other. If you have not read this book yet I highly recommend it for those who enjoy captivating books. This book will go on your list of favorite read I promise you!

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  • chris
  • 2018-09-20

great

love it well not a dull moment bit was superb very very very very good

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  • Sean Brady
  • 2022-01-03

Clear approachable dramatization

This rendition seems to stay very true to Milton’s original text while McKellen’s portrayal of Milton draws the listener into the story and lightens an otherwise extremely dark mood. I’d recommend this to anyone who is interested in Paradise Lost but has been intimidated by more scholarly readings and versions.

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  • Valbowski4186
  • 2020-07-30

A literary masterpiece brought to life

As a pastor, I take issue with some of Milton's theology, but that's beside the point. This poem is a work of genius and the actors perform their roles magnificently! Whether as an act of religious devotion, intellectual curiosity, historical study, or literary appreciation, do yourself a favor and listen to this spectacular drama.

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  • Matthew
  • 2024-02-15

Lucifer talks over the prose

I wanted to listen to Paradise Lost. I didn’t want to listen to a radio play in which Milton is narrating Paradise Lost to be constantly interrupted by his scribe and talked over by Lucifer. This was beyond annoying and not worth a credit.

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