Hearts Of Oak

Five stories and extracts from novels that take the sea and the sailor’s never-ending battle with the elements as their theme.

The Far Side of the World

This extract finds Jack Aubrey and Stephen Maturin in the balmy South Pacific relaxing as the ship slips easily along…

Writer: Patrick O’Brian
Reader: Benedict Cumberbatch

The Voyage

In the 19th century an American traveller reflects on space and time as he makes the long voyage from the New World to the Old.

Writer: Washington Irving
Reader: Julian Wadham


A voyage to the exotic east promises much to Joseph Conrad’s young hero in this extract from one of his celebrated stories of the sea. If the ship manages to leave harbour that is…

Writer: Joseph Conrad
Reader: Jonathan Firth

I Have Been Drowned

A quirky story of a sailor’s attempt to cheat his fate by daring it to take him if it will.

Writer: Tom Hopkinson
Reader: Jonathan Firth

The Cruel Sea

HMS Compass Rose stops engines to make repairs and wallows undefended on an ocean alive with U boats in this extract from the classic novel of war at sea.

Writer: Nicholas Monsarrat
Reader: Julian Wadham

First Broadcast:

Monday - Friday, 13th-17th September 2004 at 15:30 on BBC Radio 4

Production Credits:

Sound Engineer: Perry Andrews
Producer: Lisa Osborne
Executive Producer: Karen Rose

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