Ed emailed me and wanted to ask everyone about their experiences of audio recordings of the diary. As this is currently the only place to discuss this kind of thing, it’s over to Ed:

I’d like to ask what people think about the recently released 4-CD set of selections from the Diary read by Michel Maloney (Amazon UK) as compared with the earlier 6 audio cassette set by Kenneth Branagh (Amazon US, UK). I find the Maloney reading to be (among other things) devoid of any sense of humanity whatsoever — and if SP was anything he was human. Branagh has plenty to answer for to be sure, but his reading of Pepys is not one of them. I don’t know who Maloney is but to me they picked the wrong guy. Too bad, as I had been looking forward to it since it was annouced late last year.

So, has anyone else heard these, or any other recordings? Any thoughts?


First Reading

Kate  •  Link

I've never heard Maloney's reading (come to that I've never heard of Michel Maloney) but I have heard all six of the Branagh cassettes.

As you would expect of an actor of Branagh's calibre, the readings are very well done, very professional.

Is it the authentic voice of Sam, though? Personally, I have my doubts. Other listeners may disagree.

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

Sorry -- never meant to suggest Branagh was the "authentic" voice of Sam, just that in comparision to Maloney (who has a number of dramatic credits according to the liner notes) he comes across as, well, alive.

The Bishop  •  Link

You can listen to a one-minute clip of Maloney reading here (only the introduction, not the text of the diary itself).


Based on this, I think he's a very good choice. This is exactly how I imagine Pepys sounding.

I haven't heard Branaugh read Pepys, but Branaugh is the most horrible over-actor. His Shakespearean performances are disasters.

Emilio  •  Link

I was just listening to the Branagh recording for the first time, and found it quite fun. Whatever anyone thinks of his style of acting in general, he's certainly not afraid to throw himself into the reading, and that gusto helped bring the events to life for me.
I thought he did come on a bit strong in the bawdy passages (sometimes sounding dangerously close to Pepe LePew), but even in those spots he was in sync with the action - I always knew what was going on the moment his tone changed.

Ed LeZotte  •  Link

Pepe LePew? Excellent! And pretty accurate when one stops to think about it.

Liz  •  Link

Listening to Kenneth Branagh's recording right now and LOVE IT!!
He's got a wonderful voice and it's very well done!!!


Glyn  •  Link

For Brits, from last weekend's Observer newspaper:


Glyn  •  Link

The (Fictional!) Diary of Elizabeth Pepys is being broadcast on BBC Radio next week in five 15-minute segments from Monday 10 November to Friday 14 November.

Some details here:


It will be on twice daily, so you should be able to listen to it wherever in the world you are.

And a lot of BBC radio dramas are saved to be listened for a further seven days. If that's true in this case, people could wait and listen to them all in one go.

Log in to post a comment.

If you don't have an account, then register here.