The Lady in the Van

  • by Alan Bennett
  • Narrated by Alan Bennett, full cast, Maggie Smith
  • 1 hrs and 31 mins
  • Radio/TV Program

Publisher's Summary

Maggie Smith stars in this BBC radio adaptation of Alan Bennett's highly acclaimed autobiographical stage play.
An eccentric old lady moves into a quiet street in Camden Town. There she remains, installed in her van in glorious self-sufficiency, until the council instructs her to move on. Then a kind homeowner invites her to move her van into his garden - where she stays for the next 15 years. This is the fascinating story of the genteel vagrant who found a unique place in Alan Bennett's life and writing.
But the drama is as much about the author himself as Miss Shepherd. Why did Alan Bennett let her commandeer his driveway? Was he acting out of kindness, weakness or hidden guilt over not spending enough time with his own mother? Did he always subconsciously plan to exploit Miss Shepherd for literary profit?
Thought provoking and moving, The Lady in the Van tackles profound questions about social responsibility, homelessness and mental illness with a lightness of touch characteristic of Bennett the master storyteller.
With a full cast including Adrian Scarborough, Marcia Warren and Alan Bennett, this bittersweet comic tale stars Maggie Smith as Miss Shepherd.
Now a major BBC feature film starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Brilliant, a classic

Alan Bennett at his best funny, crude and meticulously observant of his subject and himself.
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- T M Brown

Delightful and enchanting!

Alan Bennet's lady in the van is none other than Maggie Smith who gives a wonderful performance. This true story recounts a tale of a real character, an eccentric. I was brought up in Camden in the early sixties and there were several eccentrics living there from the lady who accosted every man asking if he were Mr Daly, the old man in my street who lived in a house full of newspapers piled up everywhere and the shellshock man who wandered around spitting out imaginary mud from his mouth. As he was quite elderly I suppose he really had been in the First World War. Just to say that I do not doubt the authenticity of this lady. Bravo to Alan Bennet who allowed her to stay in his garden for all those years. It will have you laughing out loud at times, disgusted and maybe even tearful.
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- iris

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-10-2015
  • Publisher: BBC Worldwide Ltd.