A cricketing legend faces his final innings in this moving BBC radio drama starring Kenneth Cranham and Benedict Cumberbatch.
Easter Monday, 1908, and there's snow on the ground as ageing icon W.G. Grace arrives at the Oval to contemplate another day in his lifelong cricketing obsession. He can't face the thought of sitting in the clubhouse and meeting the same old people - so instead, he trudges out in the cold to the groundsman's hut, where he encounters a young stranger.
Their talk turns, naturally, to cricket, and the two men recall the highlights of Grace's long career: his debut for the All-England team in 1866, when he made 100 runs on the first day, and his first Test Match at the Oval in 1880 where he scored 152 against Australia, becoming England's first centurion.
But those triumphs occurred decades ago, and Grace no longer dominates the world of cricket as he once did. At nearly 60, he knows in his heart that it's time to retire, but he cannot bear the idea of giving up the game he loves. Can the stranger persuade him to bow out with dignity?
Written by Nick Warburton, who won the 2007 Peter Tinniswood Award for Best New Play on Radio, this poignant, bittersweet drama stars Kenneth Cranham as Grace, with Benedict Cumberbatch as the young man and Christopher Martin-Jenkins as the Voice of Cricket.
Produced by Steven Canny
W.G. Grace - Kenneth Cranham
GF - Benedict Cumberbatch
Voice of Cricket - Christopher Martin-Jenkins
First broadcast on BBC Radio 4, 24th September 2008
What listeners say about Last Days of Grace
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Amazing on so many levels
I have waited years to hear this after listening to it on the BBC.
Dominic Cumberbatch before he became one of the gods of acting is amazing in his role and Kenneth Cranham as a prickly Grace really adds to the atmosphere.
This production is a subtle yet powerful supernatural play making Grace reflect on his career and his relationship with his late brother.
What really makes it tick is the cameo of CMJ narrating as if on Test Match Cricket... it really bind this story well in the style of a cricket match in background and funnily enough as this radio play comes out on audible it’s a snowy cold day - same as the start of the play.
I really do recommend this play!