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Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle Coming to Radio 4

By December 8, 2020Adaptations, News

Neil Gaiman’s The Sleeper and the Spindle is a story that draws on traditional folk tales and interweaves the stories of Snow White and Sleeping Beauty in an enchanting, winter fairy-tale that puts women at the very centre of the stage. The beautiful book, complete with stunning illustrations by Chris Riddell was first published in 2014 and now, it’s coming to Radio 4 as part of their holiday line-up.

The Sleeper and the Spindle is set in a mountain kingdom and begins when a soldier-Queen is preparing for her wedding day. Three dwarves – guardians from her childhood – arrive for the celebration but they also bring news of a ‘sleeping sickness’ that is sweeping across the land. The Queen has already survived her own long, magic induced sleep when she was a child so she dons her armour and sword and rides off in search of the source of this new sickness, hoping to save her people.

She soon discovers that the sleeping sickness is spreading from a castle hidden deep in the forest where she finds a beautiful girl deep in slumber and a very elderly woman, forever awake. When the Queen wakes the princess, she discovers that not everything is as it seems and she must ultimately understand that she must make her own choices and create her own happiness.

The BBC Radio 4 adaptation has been created by the award-winning dramatist Katie Hims. It was star Dame Penelope Wilton as the narrator and old woman, Gwendoline Christie as The Queen and Neil Gaiman himself as The Home Secretary. Also part of the cast are Ralph Ineson, Stefan Adegbola, Ian Dunnett Jnr, Cecilia Appiah, Emma Handy, Roger Ringrose and Milton Dighton.

The Sleeper and the Spindle has been recorded remotely by Sharon Hughes and John Benton and directed and Produced by Allegra McIlroy for BBC Radio 4. It will air on 26th December from 3pm until 4pm and you can listen worldwide. Neil Gaiman also added that he believed a longer version would also be made available to stream and download in January.

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