Originally broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 2006.
When Daphne du Maurier was a child she went to stay at a house called Milton, near Peterborough. It was a huge house and very grand with a vast entrance hall, many rooms and a commanding housekeeper. As a young adult Daphne discovered Menabilly, the home of the Rashleigh family, situated just outside Fowey in Cornwall. It was a large house hidden away down a long driveway with vast grounds surrounded by woodland and a pathway leading down to a cottage nestled beside the sea with two beaches sheltered in a little cove. The house was empty and neglected but she loved it. It was a combination of these two houses that became Manderley, the house at the centre of Daphne du Maurier’s novel Rebecca, which opens with the famous lines:
“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again. It seemed to me I stood by the iron gate leading to the drive and for a while I could not enter, for the way was barred to me”.
Read by ALEX KINGSTON, a true international acting star, known the world over for her roles as Dr Elizabeth Corday in the series E.R. and River Song in Doctor Who. This abridged series, from the master of radio abridgement, Neville Teller introduces the listener to the classic characters that Daphne du Maurier created all those years ago, and who were so gloriously brought to life by Alfred Hitchock in his 1940 film – it is a beautiful, haunting and gripping story of love, hate and deceit.
This series was originally broadcast on BBC Radio 2 in 2006. This edition has been slightly edited to adhere to copyright restrictions.
Mrs Van Hopper, a rich, snobbish and inconsiderate American is holidaying in Monte Carlo, along with her nameless paid companion. Mrs Van Hopper soon has her eye on the glamorous widower Maxim de Winter, but Maxim only has eyes for her young companion!
The wealthy widower Maxim de Winter has been enjoying the company of the paid companion of the odious Mrs Van Hopper. Unknown to the loathsome woman, the two have fallen madly in love and on the day they are due to leave for New York, Maxim proposes to his new love…
After a honeymoon of seven weeks motoring through Italy and France, Maxim de Winter and his new wife have arrived in Manderley. The new Mrs de Winter struggles to get to grips with the size of the house and the formidable housekeeper, Mrs Danvers.
On the day Maxim de Winter departs for London, his new wife discovers a shutter in the west wing is open, and a mysterious man standing at the window with Mrs Danvers right behind him!
Maxim de Winter is horrified at his wife’s choice of costume at the newly resumed Manderley annual fancy dress ball. So why did Mrs Danvers suggest she wear it in the first place?
Following the foundering of a ship on the nearby reefs, the harbour-master arrives at Manderley with the shocking news that a diver has discovered Rebecca’s missing boat, and that lying on the cabin floor is a body.
When Rebecca’s boat with a skeleton in the cabin is found on the seabed, Maxim confesses that he never loved Rebecca, that their marriage had been a sham and that he’d shot her, and taken her body across to the boat before sinking it.
Jack Favell has come to Manderley to blackmail Maxim de Winter. But using all his influence, Maxim, with the help of Mrs Danvers and the magistrate has learned the last of Rebecca’s secrets…