Like satsumas and hangovers, the annual BBC Radio 4 Neil Gaiman drama has established itself as an essential festive tradition. Following its 2013 Neverwhere dramatization, Radio 4 brought us Good Omens, Stardust, and How The Marquis Got His Coat Back, as well as featuring The Truth Is A Cave In The Black Mountains as a book of the week, all at Christmastime.
This year’s Xmas radio drama will be Anansi Boys, adapted from Neil Gaiman’s 2005 novel. It’s the story of two estranged brothers, gods, magic, African folk tales, and spiders. The first of the six episodes is due to air on December the 25th.
Super-producer Dirk Maggs is once again behind the dramatisation, whose cast boasts excellent geek credentials. Lenny Henry, co-writer on 1996 miniseries Neverwhere and the voice of the audiobook, co-stars with Misfits and Utopia’s Nathan Stewart-Jarrett, Game Of Thrones’ Jacob Anderson, Doctor Who’s Adjoa Andoh, and many more. (As ever, listen out for a special cameo by Gaiman himself.)
In the official press release, Neil Gaiman calls Anansi Boys the best of all five adaptations of his work on which Maggs and BBC Radio 4 have collaborated.
The announcement comes almost exactly a decade after the BBC World Service Anansi Boys adaptation, also featuring Lenny Henry, aired in November 2007. In Mike Walker’s one-hour version of the story, Henry voiced the dual roles of Fat Charlie and Spider, with EastEnders’ Rudolph Walker and Tameka Empson as Anansi and Mrs Higgler, and Matt Lucas as the villainous Grahame Coats.
Here’s a clip of Sir Lenny Henry himself explaining how Anansi Boys came about, and why it’s such a special novel:
Read more about the drama over on BBC Radio 4 here.