The Courier of Lyons

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The Courier of Lyons is a play by the British writer Charles Reade which was first performed in 1854. It was based on the 1796 Courrier de Lyon case in Revolutionary France. Reade drew inspiration from a previous stage work based on the case by the French writers Paul Siraudin and Louis-Mathurin Moreau.

Reade wrote the play specifically for the actor Charles Kean. It had its début on 26 June 1854, with Queen Victoria and Prince Albert in attendance. It had an initial run of twenty six performances and was revived frequently. It proved so popular that is soon spawned a number of pirated versions, and Reade commented in 1855 that it had been seen in nearly every theatre in London.[1]

Reade later wrote a revised version for the actor Henry Irving in 1877 under the title The Lyons Mail,[2] a name by which the original play is sometimes known.


There were a number of different adaptations of Reade's work, notably a 1916 silent film The Lyons Mail directed by Fred Paul and a 1931 film The Lyons Mail made at Twickenham Studios by the director Arthur Maude.


  1. ^ Hammet p.9
  2. ^ Hammet p.9


  • Hammet, Michael. Plays by Charles Reade. Cambridge University Press, 1986.