However many times you have watched Black Beauty, it can't fail to make the most stony-hearted of equestrians well up, and today a new audio drama of the family classic has been released

Since Black Beauty was first published 140 years ago in 1877 it has sold over 50 million copies — and tugged at the heart of equestrians worldwide along the way.

Today (20 April 2017) a new audio drama of the family classic has been released by Audible, featuring a host of high profile actors including Samuel West (BAFTA-nominated; Mr Selfridge, Howards End), Samantha Bond (SAG-nominated; Downton Abbey, James Bond [’95 – ’02]), Paul Thornley (Harry Potter & The Cursed Child, Les Misérables) and Tamzin Outhwaite (EastEnders, Great Expectations, Foyle’s War).

Listen to an extract here:

Framed as a first-person narrative from the eponymous horse, the story follows Black Beauty’s journey from a well-born colt to a painfully overworked cab horse. Brimming with vivid detail and relatable characters, each chapter of Black Beauty’s long and varied life communicates an important message about kindness, sympathy and understanding.

With rich and detailed sound-design – including real-life recordings of horses breathing, bit in mouth sounds, carrot and hay crunching; as well as Dennis King’s original ‘Galloping Home’ score, as performed by the London String Chorale – this new production immerses listeners in an authentic pastoral world.

“I absolutely love working in audio, so was thrilled when Audible asked me to work on such a classic tale,” says Samantha Bond, who plays Duchess. “Rehearsing and re-reading the script, you really come to appreciate that this story is not just for children – as well as beautiful pastoral scenes, there are some very moving descriptions of cruelty too. It’s no wonder Black Beauty is still a favourite for adults and children alike, and I’m so glad to have helped bring the story to life in audio.”

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Laurence Howell, director of content at Audible UK added: “Over the past century, Black Beauty has been told and re-told, the characters re-imagined in film, television and on stage. We’re thrilled to be working with such a talented cast to bring this timeless story to life as a definitive audio drama. Having a voice piped directly into your ear, that’s an incredibly intimate experience, made even more so when the cast and sound-design creates such an immersive and compelling atmosphere for listeners.”

Black Beauty is available to download now at www.audible.co.uk/blackbeauty (one credit for Audible members, £12.99 for non-members or free with Audible’s 30-day trial).

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