The BBC Radio 4 show, Woman’s Hour is soon going to be featuring a drama based on Samuel Pepys’ diary. There will be five 15 minute episodes, broadcast at 10.45am (UK time) from Monday 15th to Friday 19th August. Here’s the press release from this page:

Samuel Pepys was 26 in January 1660, when he decided to record his daily life and innermost thoughts. Kris Marshall stars in this new adaptation of his diaries by Hattie Naylor.

Two years after a life-threatening operation to remove a bladder stone Pepys is feeling pretty well – despite having a lot on his mind.

He’s behind with his rent, he goes out too often, and drinks too much. He lies awake worrying about work and, despite being happily married, can’t keep his hands off other women.

For the next 10 years, in his secret diary, Samuel Pepys faithfully records the day’s events, and confesses his innermost thoughts.

He reveals what people in the 17th century ate, wore, did for fun and what they expected of marriage and of love affairs.

Hattie Naylor’s new adaptation features Katharine Jakeways as Samuel Pepys’s wife, Elizabeth.

Producer/Kate McAll for the BBC

I expect it will be available after broadcast on the BBC iPlayer but I imagine this will only be for UK listeners.


First Reading

Mary  •  Link

I've just heard a 'trail' snatch of this production on Radio4.

Hmmm. Not for the purist, I think.

GrahamT  •  Link

When I saw that Kris Marshall was playing Pepys, I was worried, but I see that the Historical Consultant is Liza Picard, author of Restoration London, (…) so I have set my DVR to record the series from Freeview.
It is on Radio4 at 10:45 repeated at 19:45 BST (= GMT + 1) for 15 minutes each Monday for 5 weeks. With 10 years of diary condensed into 1 hour 15 minutes, I am not expecting too much.

Grahamt  •  Link

Correction: it is a daily serial not weekly, so finishes on Friday.

Douglas Robertson  •  Link

The series is available on the iPlayer in the U.S. I am writing from there and have just listened to the first two episdoes.

Jem Stone  •  Link

Hi Phil. Hope you're well. For info. All BBC radio (barring sports right) is available either via live streaming or then via iPlayer is available worldwide. Including the Pepys drama…
Only 2 days left to listen to Episode 1 though...

Kate  •  Link

I loved this - it may not be entirely faithful, but it was a pleasure to listen to. Kris Marshall did an excellent job. I want to buy it on cd, but sadly the beeb don't seem to be planning to release it.

Second Reading

PaintKatt  •  Link

I just finished listening to the wonderful adaptation of the diary by the BBC. (available on When I came to this website to look up more information about his household and other people in his life, I was surprised by the entries for his manservant Will. It seems the encyclopedia has entries for two different Wills, one that was his houseboy (who was fired for theft) and the other Will Hewer, who served in his household for a time and then became his clerk. Did the BBC combine these two people in the radio play or did I miss a detail? Since I am new to studying the diary, I would love to know. I am very curious about Pepys and find his life absolutely fascinating!

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