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Publisher's Summary

Maggie Smith stars in this BBC radio adaptation of Alan Bennett's highly acclaimed autobiographical stage play.

An eccentric old lady moves into a quiet street in Camden Town. There she remains, installed in her van in glorious self-sufficiency, until the council instructs her to move on. Then a kind homeowner invites her to move her van into his garden - where she stays for the next 15 years. This is the fascinating story of the genteel vagrant who found a unique place in Alan Bennett's life and writing.

But the drama is as much about the author himself as Miss Shepherd. Why did Alan Bennett let her commandeer his driveway? Was he acting out of kindness, weakness or hidden guilt over not spending enough time with his own mother? Did he always subconsciously plan to exploit Miss Shepherd for literary profit?

Thought provoking and moving, The Lady in the Van tackles profound questions about social responsibility, homelessness and mental illness with a lightness of touch characteristic of Bennett the master storyteller.

With a full cast including Adrian Scarborough, Marcia Warren and Alan Bennett, this bittersweet comic tale stars Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd.

Now a major BBC feature film starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings.

©2015 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2015 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What listeners say about The Lady in the Van

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Funny, Maddening, Heartbreaking

What an excellent performance of this adaption. Maggie Smith as the "Old Lady" is perfect. As the story unfolds you are caught up in wanting to find out more about why she is the way she is. There are lots of laugh out loud moments from both the lady herself and the narrator in whose driveway (and eventually back yard) she spent most of her time. You admire her independence and her fierce defense of living her life the way she wishes, yet will be heartbroken at how she came to this.

I found it to be very realistic in the depiction of how we (society) are often at a loss of how to help those people suffering from mental health issues and when an avenue is found how frustrating it can be when the outcome is not how you imagined it. Well worth listening to. #Audible1

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  • R. Wolfe
  • 2016-07-31

The Lady in the Van

What a pleasure to hear Maggie Smith's voice and Alan Bennett's wit. I thoroughly enjoyed listening.

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  • Gerry-louise
  • 2016-07-14

Hilarious, sad, and entertaining!

A short funny and somewhat morbid interaction between middle age and the elderly! Worth it.