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Summary

BBC Radio productions of the first seven books in Patrick O'Brian's hugely popular Napoleonic naval series - plus bonus material.

Widely regarded as the most engaging historical novels ever written, the 21 books in Patrick O'Brian's Aubrey/Maturin series have garnered millions of fans since the publication of the first volume over 50 years ago. Included here are BBC radio adaptations of the first seven thrilling stories.

Master and Commander - Gibraltar, 1800. Newly commissioned Commander Jack Aubrey anxiously awaits the verdict in his court martial for the loss of his ship.... Michael Troughton stars as Aubrey, with Nigel Anthony as Stephen Maturin.

Post Captain - 1802. Following the Treaty of Amiens, England is at peace. Returning home for a short spell as country squires, Jack and Stephen meet two beautiful women who will change their lives forever.... Read by Patrick Malahide.

HMS Surprise - 1804, and the dauntless duo face sea battles, political intrigue and romantic rivalry, as Aubrey tackles a secret mission. Starring David Robb as Jack Aubrey and Richard Dillane as Stephen Maturin, with other cast including Adjoa Andoh.

The Mauritius Command- 1809. Promoted to Commodore, Jack prepares to lead a squadron of ships against the French. David Robb and Richard Dillane star as Aubrey and Maturin.

Desolation Island - 1811, and Jack Aubrey sets sail for Australia. His mission: to transport a group of convicts to Botany Bay. Starring David Robb and Richard Dillane.

The Fortune of War - 1812. Britain is at war with America and France - and the two friends find themselves caught in the crossfire.... David Robb and Richard Dillane star in this three-part dramatisation of Patrick O'Brian's novel and its sequel, The Surgeon's Mate.

Third Ear - Patrick O'Brian talks to fellow novelist Alan Judd about his work and his fascination with the historical novel.

Bookclub: Patrick O'Brian - Master and Commander - James Naughtie discusses the novel that sparked the much-loved series with author Allan Mallinson and an audience of invited readers.

Text copyright © The Estate of the late Patrick O'Brian CBE 1970 (Master and Commander), 1972 (Post Captain), 1973 (HMS Surprise), 1977 (The Mauritius Command), 1978 (Desolation Island), 1979 (The Fortune of War), 1980 (The Surgeon's Mate).

Cast and credits:

Written by Patrick O'Brian.

Master and Commander

Dramatised by Roger Danes. Directed by Adrian Bean. Music by Roger Danes and performed by Trevor Allan Davies. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 6th April - 11th May 1995.

Post Captain

Read by Patrick Malahide. Abridged by Roger Danes. Produced by Patrick Rayner. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 15th - 26th February 1999.

HMS Surprise

Produced and directed by Bruce Young. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 8th - 10th October 2008.

The Mauritius Command

Dramatised by Roger Danes. Produced and directed by Bruce Young. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 3rd - 17th April 2011.

Desolation Island

Dramatised by Roger Danes. Produced and directed by Bruce Young. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 21st - 28th July 2013.

The Fortune of War

Dramatised by Roger Danes. Produced and directed by Bruce Young. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 18th November - 2nd December 2018.

Third Ear

Presented by Alan Judd. With Patrick O'Brian. Produced by Ed Thomason. First broadcast BBC Radio 3, 10th March 1992.

Bookclub: Patrick O'Brian - Master and Commander

Presented by James Naughtie. With Allan Mallinson and an invited audience of readers. Produced by Dymphna Flynn. First broadcast BBC Radio 4, 7th December 2014.

©2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd (P)2022 BBC Studios Distribution Ltd

What listeners say about Jack Aubrey & Stephen Maturin: Master & Commander & Other Adventures

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Great listen!

Really good full cast drama, really entertaining. This is great for listening to chilling or a long car journey. 30 min episode mean you can easily listen in short goes also.

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Hit and miss, but mostly hit

A shame that the first dramatisation suffers from terrible casting, with Jack Aubrey sounding like a feeble old man at times, and a shame that the second is a quite average abridged reading, but the four starring David Robb and Richard Dillane are wonderful and more than make up for the shortcomings of the earlier efforts. The characterisation comes through strongly and the plots are adapted intelligently to fit the radio drama formula. Subtle touches and jokes stand out after a second listen (or even a third). The supporting cast members are excellent, with Sam Dale's performance as Lord Clonfert a particular highlight for me. As for the extra bonus features... I suppose you'll like them if you like that sort of thing...

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I am addicted!!!!

Love the books, loved the film, love the serialisation!!!! Bravo O'Brian!! Great sense of history

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  • Jonathan Woodward
  • 01-04-22

Not for fans of the books

Didn’t get five minutes in before I was too horrified to continue.

And for those who don’t already know the book, you will be confused and uninterested.

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  • T529
  • 24-03-22

the book is always better

I love these books. it's a little bit fun to hear them illuminated in these radio plays, but the books are much richer. if you don't already know the characters and the story I think this production will be hard to follow.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 26-05-22

Disastrous

Just stick with the novels, or watch the movie. This is worthless. Three more words.