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Audio Book Review


BBC Archive Voices
Roald Dahl
Interviews 1972 - 1989


Starring: Roald Dahl
RRP: £5.49
ISBN: 978 1 445 85216 4
Available 26 September 2011

BBC Archive Voices: Roald Dahl - Interviews 1972 - 1989 is part of the BBC Archive Voices series from AudioGO, which presents interviews with key figures in the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature. Selected from the archives of BBC radio and television broadcasting, they offer a chance to hear compelling conversations from years ago. Some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting, many of these interviews have not been heard since their original transmission...

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 1989, Roald Dahl talks about writing for children; his medical inventions to aid his ailing son and wife (the actress Patricia Neal) when they were seriously ill, and writing his short stories. He also covers his school days; military service; writing for films (including Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and the link between cruelty and laughter.

Of all the releases in the BBC Archive Voices released this month, I personally found this one to be the most enjoyable. Mainly this is because I grew up on Roald Dahl as a young boy, but mostly because Dahl seems to have led the most extraordinary life. This release goes through the periods in his life much better than the other releases.

We discover that Dahl is probably responsible for creating the word "Gremlins" to describe creatures that get into mechanical parts of vehicles; that he didn't think much to the movie adaptation of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, even though he wrote the screenplay - he made the mistake of handing that over and letting them change it how they wanted. He also didn't like his time on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but enjoyed his time on the Bond movie You Only Live Twice.

It was also interesting to learn that he, with a friend, was responsible for creating a heart valve that is still used in countries where more modern valves are too expensive and that he spent his time writing in his strange shed at the bottom of his garden.


Nick Smithson

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BBC Archive Voices: Roald Dahl - Roald Dahl
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