One Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich in 1962 was a literary earthquake with profound political implications.
At the height of the Cold War, Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn exposed to the Soviet Union, and the world, the suffering which Stalin had imposed on his own people.
Revealing the bitter conditions and arbitrary cruelties of the Soviet prison camps which became known as the Gulag Archipelago, the lies at the heart of Soviet history became impossible to hide.
The book is taut, engrossing and sympathetic, showing neither more nor less than one day in one man's life in the camps.
Ivan Denisovich is a resilient individual, and if he wrote to his family telling them to send him nothing, it spares him certain hopes and illusions. His survival is dependent on himself.
Dramatised by Mike Walker as an ensemble piece for Gang 104, Ivan Denisovich's unit, Radio 4's production is the first dramatic interpretation of the book since the 1970 movie, written by Ronald Harwood, with Tom Courtenay as Ivan Denisovich.
When Solzhenitsyn's shattering picture of Stalin's prison camps became an international bestseller in 1962, it seemed to signal a thaw in the Cold War.
But Solzhenitsyn was a prophet about to be dishonoured in his own land, and the uncensored version of the novel did not appear until 1991 - the year after Solzhenitsyn's citizenship was restored in Russia.
Following the routine of a single day in the camps, the story is a dynamic demonstration of human resilience, performed by a powerful ensemble of British actors.
- Ivan Denisovich....Neil Dudgeon
- Tiurin....Philip Jackson
- Alyoshka....Paul Chan
- Fetuikov....Jonathan Tafler
- Pavlo....Ben Onwukwe
- The Captain....Bruce Purchase
- Tsezar....Matthew Morgan
- Kolya....Marty Rea
- The Tartar....Stephen Critchlow
- Dovchenko....Ben Crowe
- Guard 1....Seun Shote
- Zec....Peter Darney