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Audio Drama Review


The Hobbit
The Classic BBC Radio Production


Starring: Anthony Jackson, Paul Daneman and Heron Carvic
RRP: £15.00
ISBN: 978 1 4458 4663 7
Available 04 October 2012

Dwarves, elves, goblins, trolls, dragons and wizards - these are the ingredients of J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful fantasy, the prelude to The Lord of The Rings, now the subject of a major feature film series. The hero of the tale is Bilbo Baggins, a home-loving unambitious hobbit who is suddenly thrust into what turns out to be the biggest adventure of his life. Guided by Gandalf the wizard, Bilbo and a company of dwarves set out to destroy Smaug the Magnificent, a ferocious dragon who guards a treasure hoard. Their journey contains many dangers, and in facing them the reluctant Bilbo's great resourcefulness and courage surprises everyone - not least himself...

To coincide with the release of the new The Hobbit movie, AudioGO rerelease the acclaimed BBC Radio 4 production of J. R. R. Tolkien's famous saga. Since it was first broadcast in 1968, this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation has become a classic in its own right, perfectly evoking Tolkien's magical other world and its enchanting, fantastic inhabitants.

The first four discs feature the story split over eight parts, while the last CD features David Cain's incredible music score.

For those who are unfamiliar with the story this may seem like a rather dull and tired tale. Yes, over the years, since Tolkien's original book was published in 1937, countless television shows, films and books have "borrowed" heavily from the plot. It's your typical normal guy becomes a hero (very much explored by Joseph Campbell in The Hero with a Thousand Faces [1949] which looks at the archetypal hero's journey).

Here Bilbo Baggins (a hobbit) is chosen by Gandalf the wizard to join a group of Dwarfs to track down and kill the dragon Smaug. The tale charts their journey to the Dragon's lair and the final battle. In a nutshell, that's all there is to it, but it's the journey that makes the story what it is.

The BBC adaptation is well structured and Paul Daneman is incredibly well cast as Bilbo. If you don't already own this, then now is the perfect time to add this wonderful radio play to your collection.


Nick Smithson

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