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Publisher's Summary

Kris Marshall and Katherine Jakeways star as Mr & Mrs Pepys in this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation of the world famous diaries.
Samuel Pepys was 26 when he decided to start keeping a diary, in January 1660. For the next 10 years he faithfully recorded the day's events and confessed his innermost thoughts. That diary has since become one of our most important, and fascinating, historical documents. Pepys gave us eyewitness accounts of some of the great events of the 17th century, including the Great Fire of London and the Second Dutch War. He also told us what people ate and wore, what they did for fun, the tricks they played on each other, what they expected of marriage, and even how they conducted love affairs. He described London - the frozen river Thames, the rising crime rate and the poverty - and recorded the details of his own life: his wife, rivals, lovers and friends, his work for the Navy, his drinking and social life.
Over 350 years may have passed since Pepys first put pen to paper, but the man and his preoccupations feel surprisingly familiar. In this major BBC Radio dramatisation of the journals, the sights and sounds of his world are vividly conjured. This collection comprises all 10 radio series plus a special Saturday Drama centring on the Great Fire of London.
©2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2014 BBC Worldwide Ltd
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Customer Reviews

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By C.P.G. on 01-12-16

Get Lost in Another Time

What did you love best about The Diary of Samuel Pepys?

I loved the acting. These are, by far, the best actors I've ever heard in a full cast performance. I also love the adaptation. The actual diary consists of 1st person journal entries. The mix of the narration of these entries and the full scenes is excellent.

What did you like best about this story?

There are so many things I liked about the story. I'd have to say, I was most moved by the personal relationships. Some of the characters were quite endearing. Humor was a huge part of the play. I found myself laughing out loud several times. I also loved the history that was so much of this story. I was transported to a long ago time and place.

Which scene was your favorite?

It's impossible for me to pick out a single scene as my favorite. There were so many wonderful moments. I particularly enjoyed any scene with Samuel and his house boy/servant, Will. I'd have to say, these were probably the funniest exchanges.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

As I said, there were many scenes that made me laugh, and a moment that nearly brought me to tears. The acting was so good, on par with the best British films and television, I found myself caring deeply for these people.

Any additional comments?

For anyone who particularly enjoys full cast audio performances, The Diary of Samuel Pepys is in my top five. In fact, it might even be my all-time favorite. It's hard to find fault with this production, but there is one glaring problem which caused me to deduct one overall rating star. Each of the 51 chapters is about 13 minutes long, and each one begins with a lone female voice singing a short, 20 second song. I wouldn't have minded if each time it had been a different song, but every 13 minutes I had to hear the same exact song. If that wasn't bad enough, any time there was singing by any of the characters, they too sang the same song. It's a shame the producers didn't take the time to edit out these 51 tedious chapter intros for the Audible and CD releases of this otherwise perfect audio play.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

By Willis on 01-01-15

Absolutely wonderful!! It's a Time machine ride!

Would you listen to The Diary of Samuel Pepys again? Why?

I've listened to this over and over and there is always something new to discover in the diary of this horrible crazy wonderful man.

What other book might you compare The Diary of Samuel Pepys to and why?

It's impossible to compare this to anything else because it is someones real life dramatized and made so real that you just have to hear what happens on the next day.

What about the narrators’s performance did you like?

The actors are magic and the end made me weep. I really felt like I had entered a world of a bygone age and I really got involved with the actors in that world.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Samuel Pepys reaction to the executions of those who fomented the Civil war is particularly moving even though it fills me with disgust at the same time it is interesting to see the reaction he has to it and how violence begets violence.

Any additional comments?

Read this Audiobook!!

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Mark H on 12-13-16

A first rate dramatization of a seminal diary

As other reviewers have said, this is a very enjoyable listen that transports you back to the middle of seventeenth century London. It covers the decade 1660 to 1670, which was a time when lots of important things were happening. There was ongoing naval warfare with the Dutch, the Black Death and the Great Fire of London. The dramatization brings Pepys diary to life and does not seem to take liberties with his text. This diary is a real insight into what London was like in 1660, its sensibilities, daily goings on, political intrigue, brutal punishments for law breakers and basic medicine. It does well in covering big issues, as well as covering the day to day life of a fairly well-off professional (and perhaps rather flawed) working man.

Enormous praise must go to the cast and production team who have excelled in the verisimilitude of this adaptation. It really is first rate. If you are interested in English history and enjoy dramatizations, then I thoroughly recommend this audio book.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

By Deborah Wyman on 10-21-14

Entertaining and insightful

Where does The Diary of Samuel Pepys rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

This is one of the best books I have heard so far. It was wonderfully performed and had me completely hooked from the beginning.

What other book might you compare The Diary of Samuel Pepys to, and why?

I don't think this can be compared to any other book. It is a unique book as Samuel was a civil servant who gives a primary account of the politics and major events of the time as well as how ordinary folk lived and interacted.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

This is dramatised as opposed to being narrated. Wonderful acting and definitely leads the imagination.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

I zipped through this book and would have happily listen to it in one sitting if I had the time.

Any additional comments?

Funny and insightful, not a boring moment.

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4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

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By Kate on 03-28-16


This is a fantastic dramatisation, enjoyed every minute - it's really well done. I was so sad when it was finished, I looked forward to each new diary entry to see what would happen next to Sam, Lizzy and their friends and family. It really shows how nothing changes, the people in 1660's London had the same problems and issues, feelings and joys that we have today. My only tiny criticism would be that the song used does get tedious as it is used throughout the entire performance whenever music is called for as well as to seperate the chapters and the chapters are quite short!! But that is worth overlooking. One of the best audiobooks I've listened to.

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