BBC Radio 4, 24 November 2013
Inspired by the work of C. S.
Lewis, Lucy Caldwell's story told of a young boy struggling to come to terms with his sexuality. Brought up in a Belfast
family in which gender roles were clearly defined, he found himself inexorably attracted to a belle dress belonging to one
of his sisters. When the family went out one day, he went to the wardrobe and tried it on, taking pleasure in the gold
lamé and shoulder-straps coming off the shoulder. The memory of the event provided one means for him to deal with the
emotional traumas of his adolescence and adulthood, as he tried to resolve the sexual conflicts within himself.
Written in the second person
and read by Kerr Logan, The Belle Dress showed how an apparently innocuous object can provide a portal into
a world of fantasy and self-fulfilment - especially for individuals blessed with vivid imaginations. This quality is
what lies at the heart of C. S. Lewis' fiction, and explains why it possesses an enduring significance for readers of all
ages. The producer was Heather Larmour.