The Hobbit

Starring: Anthony Jackson, Paul Daneman and Heron Carvic
BBC Radio Collection
RRP 19.99
ISBN 0 563 49438 7
Available now

Bilbo Baggins is 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 of all himself!...

J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit was originally broadcast as a BBC Radio 4 dramatisation back in 1968. Being a huge Tolkien fan, I found this recording hugely enjoyable.

However, for those who have come to the world of Bilbo Baggins and Co., through the new series of movies I wonder whether the low production values of the audio serialisation will stand up to a new generation's expectations.

Very few sound effects or music may turn the younger audiences away, but at it's core this is a very enjoyable release (if you ignore the awful singing).

The fact that the BBC have used its new MP3-CD audio format is a bonus too. The whole production is now crammed onto one CD - it was previously available as a 5-disc set.

For those who grew up reading The Hobbit, then this will be an essential purchase but it might be a little too bland for the current generation of Tolkien fans.

Pete Boomer.

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