Clarissa (Radioplay)

Richard Armitage took the leading role of Lovelace (pronounced, ‘loveless’) in BBC Radio 4’s production of Samuel Richardson’s novel, Clarissa. The production has been dramatised by Hattie Naylor and directed by Marilyn Imrie and was produced by Catherine Bailey Productions.

The rake, Robert Lovelace (Richard Armitage) courts young and beautiful Clarissa (Zoe Waites). Having tricked her, he carries her off to London and rapes her. “Clarissa then falls into decline. Lovelace becomes involved in an avenging duel with Clarissa’s cousin, and Clarissa’s family and friends must live with the guilt and shame of their own neglect and betrayal of her.”

Clarissa aired weekly from March 14th to April 4th 2010.

Robert Lovelace – Richard Armitage
Clarissa Howe – Zoe Waites

Also in the cast are Alison Steadman; Deborah Findlay; Miriam Margolyes; Oliver Milburn; John Rowe; Julian Rhind-Tutt; Adrian Scarborough; Stephen Critchlow; Cathy Sara; Sophie Thompson; Ellie Beaven; Lisa Hammond; and Linda Broughton.


Part I (Lovelace and Clarissa meet in the summerhouse) (14th March, 2010/repeated 20th March, 2010)

In this first episode we are introduced to Clarissa, her family and Robert Lovelace. Clarissa, the youngest daughter has inherited a fortune from her grandfather. Her sister, Bella, and her brother, James, are resentful and when Clarissa attracts the attentions of the known libertine, Robert Lovelace, they try to bully her into marriage with a wealthy neighbour. Lovelace tricks Clarissa into running away with him.


 The SummerhouseAudioButton


Part II (In the house of Lovelace’s friends) (21st March 2010; repeated 27th March, 2010)

In Part II, Lovelace has taken Clarissa to London to a house of some friends where he hopes to either convince her, or trick her, into marriage.




PART III (Clarissa has attempted to escape from Lovelace but is found) (28th March, 2010; repeated 3rd April, 2010)

Lovelace finds Clarissa hiding in lodgings and, in disguise, tricks the landlady into revealing Clarissa. Introducing her to his “Aunt Betty” and “cousin”, Charlotte, Lovelace tricks Clarissa and takes her back to Mrs Sinclair’s where he completes his revenge and her degradation by raping her.



PART IV (Clarissa’s tragic tale draws to its close) (4th April, 2010; repeated 10th April, 2010)

Having found refuge with Mrs and Mr Smith, and with Jack Belford, now her friend and supporter, and her cousin, Colonel Morden at her bedside, Clarissa dies having forgiven Lovelace. Lovelace seeks a duel with Colonel Morden and is mortally wounded. A few days later he dies, crying “Let this expiate!”.





The full version can also be found on our Audiobook & Radio Play Excerpts page.