The Bell by Iris Murdoch
Dramatized by Michael Bakewell
Directed by Jane Morgan
Produced by Catherine Bailey
Music by Elizabeth Parker
BBC Radio 4 - Classic Serial
Episode 1 - 07.10.1999
Episode 2 - 14.11.1999
Episode 3 - 21.11.1999
Length 3 x 60mins

A three part dramatization of Iris Murdoch's 1958 novel.


When a group of well-meaning neurotics come together in a lay religious community to try to forge a new and better life, the situation calls out all the humour and insight for which Iris Murdoch is famous. The theme of her novel is the dark conflict between sex and religion, symbolised by the new and the old bells of the abbey convent across the lake.
Episode 1 - Sex and religion come into conflict in this story of a lay community which is seriously disturbed by the arrival of an errant wife who has decided to return to her husband.
Episode 2 - A new bell is due to arrive at the Abbey, but Dora is haunted by the story of the old bell and of the death that it foretold.
Episode 3 - Raising the bell from the lake required almost supernatural strength, and Dora is determined to continue playing the witch in the holy community of Imber.


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