Discworld Audiobooks; Planer vs. Briggs

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Initial post: 5 Sep 2010 09:56:10 BDT
Chris says:
Nigel Planer or Stephen Briggs?
Thankfully, I dont particularly dislike either, so the transition from Planer to Briggs at book 24wasn't too much of a wrench. I was a little disappointed when I realised that Planer would no longer be reading them. I was immediately unhappy with Briggs' Sgt. Colon; the humourous policeman voice is a terribly overdone caricature. I much preferred Planer's Northern Irish version. In the `who does the best voice' category, I think Planer's Granny Weatherwax is hbettertoo. Planner's has a mildly irritated quality to it. This gives an image of a woman with a screwed up face, and a look of perpetual distaste at the inadequacy of the world she has to put up with. Briggs however, gives her a mildly disinterested air, as if she can barely be bothered to acknowledge anyone or anything else. Granny's character contains all of these elements but Planer's is more witchy and bitchy, and I love it. I also prefer Planer's Nanny Ogg; the jolly northerner works for me. Briggs seems to be suffering from `all witches come from the west country' syndrome. This unfortunate illness seems to afflict almost all third-rate radio drama actors. Planer does a much better job on Cybil Ramkin too. He gets the boominess across; she's a large, commanding woman when Planer does her. Briggs makes her sound a little apologetic and feeble. This doesn't reflect her character at all. Most of all, Planer does a much better Gaspode; one of my personall favourites. However, Planer does have a tendency to make too many characters sound mopey. With the exception of Magrat, this often seems at odds with the person's character.
As for general narration, it's a little trickier. The very first time I listened to a DW novel - I started at the beginning and worked my way through pretty much in chronological order - I remember thinking, "Nigel Planer, a proper comic actor, brilliant! I then began to have second thoughts on account of his downbeat, Neil from the Young Ones delivery style. Thought it was a little dreary. However, I got used to it, and what Nigel Planer brings to the table is great comic timing. You could imagine what damage a narrator with poor timing could do to Terry's work. Briggs has a much livelier and more upbeat delivery, which I imagine would appeal to a lot of people, and his timing is also great. He pronounces Uberwald properly too... ha ha. It's interesting that when listening to the early Planer readings, there's a much darker and dingier feel, which is great for the streets of Ankh. The recordings involving Briggs have a brighter and breezier feel to them. It's funny how different voices can provide such different atmospheres. I was also very glad when the sound engineers stopped putting crappy reverb on the footnotes and the voice of death- how annoying was that? So that's my two centsworth, how about you?
By the way, does anyone know why Planer stop doing them?
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Initial post:  5 Sep 2010
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Guards! Guards! (Discworld Novels)
Guards! Guards! (Discworld Novels) by Terry Pratchett (Mass Market Paperback - Aug 2001)
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