Customer Reviews


27 Reviews
5 star:
 (22)
4 star:
 (4)
3 star:
 (1)
2 star:    (0)
1 star:    (0)
 
 
 
 
 
Average Customer Review
Share your thoughts with other customers
Create your own review
 
 

The most helpful favourable review
The most helpful critical review


44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking & Awful
Originally transmitted on BBC Radio 4 within a real-time framework one weekend in 1995, this dramatisation of Len Deighton's novel still stands among the very best drama productions in the audio medium I've heard, almost ten years later.
Though on the surface this play appears to deal with many elements familiar to those Britons who grew up watching films about our...
Published on 18 Jun. 2004 by Mr. T. L. Sargent

versus
7 of 13 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Read the book!
Len Deighton is probably one of the most underrated British writers. This may have to do with so called intelectuals' problems in accepting writers who also write entertainment. What makes Deighton great is both the very beautiful prose he writes, his characters and his minute knowledge of the war. Bomber is one of his most impressive offering being a testament to...
Published on 20 Jun. 2008 by TKr


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Shocking & Awful, 18 Jun. 2004
By 
Mr. T. L. Sargent (London, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
Originally transmitted on BBC Radio 4 within a real-time framework one weekend in 1995, this dramatisation of Len Deighton's novel still stands among the very best drama productions in the audio medium I've heard, almost ten years later.
Though on the surface this play appears to deal with many elements familiar to those Britons who grew up watching films about our brave boys in the RAF, it is no Battle Of Britain-style flagwaver and quickly descends into the hellish futility and atrocity of the actions those courageous young men were called upon to perpetrate - and the appalling carnage frequently visited upon them in the act of doing so.
Fortunately, this is an intensely humane story, a tragedy which displays compassion towards all parties. A lack of human drama would render the story somewhat souless but production is equally matched with excellent performances, surmounted by the Tom Baker's grave tones as a narrator who effortlessly makes the listener feel like a spectator. The interviews with real veterans interspersed through the drama only adds to its power.
I'd recommend this drama on many levels, but I personally think its worth hearing just to demonstrate the dynamic potential of well-produced radio. The harrowing four minute autopsy of a seven-second blast of cannon fire is, in my mind at least, far more violent and affecting than anything achieved by cinema, and an extraordinary set-piece that shows just what radio can do in the theatre of the mind's eye.
Crudely put, this play is a human drama which is at times like a cross between Saving Private Ryan and Memphis Belle. Being an airman has never seemed such an appalling prospect, and while I shall never comfortably look on a Halifax or Lancaster Bomber ever again, nor - I hope - will I forget what flying those machines often demanded of the young men appointed to visit the whirlwind upon German towns and cities.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Devastating Impact, 26 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
When Deighton's 1970 novel appeared there was no war novel like it. The excellent film A Matter of Life and Death [DVD] had dared to take an unbiased view of soldiers of any nation. Bomber's dispassionate omniscient style took a unique approach to documenting the wide ranging impact of war, via the microcosm of a single bombing raid out of the thousands that took place in WW2 alone.

This 1990s radio adaptation found it's own niche. Transmitted in chunks, listeners could hear events play out in "real time". A large cast, marshalled by a pre-Little Britain Tom Baker narrating at his most grave (no flippancy here), give great performances without exception. Samuel West (Stanley And The Women), Michael Troughton (Fletcher-Dervish in the New Statesman) and Jack Shephard (Wycliffe)particularly impress- apparently Joe Swash (Eastenders?) is in there too!

Nearly 4 hours run time still required a considerable amount of book abridging, mainly of the minor characters, but this is a different medium. The quickened pace makes events seem even more relentless; the constant background throb of propeller engines, voices over radios, sirens, phones, bombs and screams make the listening experience incredibly immediate and claustrophobic.

Perhaps this production's greatest achievement is to distort the traditional war story's line between "them and us". This raid on Germany could have easily have been a raid on England; a Gestapo sub-plot demonstrates most Germans knew nothing of Nazi atrocity and thought they were just fighting for their country; there are no cod accents or lazy stereotypes, only individual men and women judging how far they are prepared to go to win a war. On both sides.

If I had a quibble, it would be that (as with a lot of early Deighton) the British upper classes tend to come across worse than the "salt of the Earth" types: a lot of the boarding school slang and cricketing metaphors the protagonist hates were just another way of coping. Then again, Deighton's known for his biased "heroes".

The lasting impact of this (you will listen again) is what would I have done? Would I have survived- physically or mentally? Old/young. Male/female. English/German.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Impressive, 17 May 2005
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
I cannot compliment this drama/ documentary audio enough. You are immersed in the lives of the people impacted by this day and night very effectively and you cannot but feel how terribly tragic circumstances really were for all sides involved. I was greatly moved throughout, especially as many of the more appalling events are underwritten by veterans and civilian testimony.
Excellent
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An unforgettable tribute to both sides., 28 Feb. 2010
By 
Mr. A. Moore "The Moore Family" (Redditch UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
I have listened to this over and over and every time I find something new. The writing of Mr Deighton, the writing of the scriptwriter, the actors and the whole production team should all win an award of some kind because this is truly unforgettable.

While not wanting to give anything of the plot away, the whole story revolves around the last 24 hours of a Lancaster Bomber, its crew, the other crews of a raid and those ordinary Germans caught up in a night of sheer terror. Whilst the story is a work of fiction, the listenner gets to hear the real reminiscences of bomber crews, ground crews and those on the receiving end of Bomber Commands tactics to flatten whole areas in carpet bombing raids.

I have the greatest admiration for those young men of Bomber Command, who night after night flew in appaling conditions expecting that night to be their last, brave souls all of them. This production brings a new dimension to their stories because this is no ordinary audio book, no ordinary work of fiction. The listener is taken into the cockpit of the Lancaster Bomber for the whole of the raid from start to finish, you hear the engines, the gunfire, the screams of dying men... you can almost smell the blood, sweat and fear while the flak explodes all around. You can see the searchlights and watch the town burning below.

But that is not all. This production takes you onto the ground where the bombs are falling. Starting earlier in the day with ordinary people doing their daily things, a birthday party, a marriage proposal... then the bombs fall and the burning starts. You take refuge in a cellar with a woman and child and rubble falls all around. You can feel the terror, hear the explosions and you fight the fires as your town burns.

Again in the air you are attacked by fighters and go down in burning aircraft or parachute to hoped for safety.

Back in England you wait heart in your mouth to see if your loved one returns and receive the telegram saying your son has been killed in action.

The characters are superbly crafted by the writers and actors, many of them famous names easily recognisable by their voices but every one playing their parts perfectly, no one vying for a staring role because what matters are the real stories of ordinary men, women and children caught up in events so terrible that I expect most people will end with a tear in the eye. I know I do every time.

One final note. I am a school teacher and have played this to some of my pupils who like most teenagers think war is an exciting game. This has moved them to utter silence, so powerful is this production. Some have openly wept in front of classmates and no one laughed at them. Powerful stuff. Well done BBC.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful stuff, 17 Jan. 2008
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
While this work is based on Len Deighton's 1970 novel Bomber rather than an actual raid in 1943 (there is a disclaimer at the end), it has a gripping intensity to it - I found myself quite tense during the second half in particular, wondering who would make it back home. About 20 per cent of the content is comprised of interviews with British and German veterans, who all speak in downbeat, matter of fact terms about night bombing/night fighting.

I'm not always Tom Baker's greatest fan but his gravelly, sombre tones suit the narration here as well as anyone's. As a previous reviewer has remarked, the blow-by-blow description of the effects of a burst of cannon fire from a fighter is chilling.

Another reason why the drama is vivid is the absence of 'Allo 'Allo-style "vee haff vayze of making you tok" cod-German accents, which would have rendered the concept ridiculous had the producers been stupid enough to employ them.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bomber, 10 July 2012
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
This amazing broadcast was enthusiastically recommended to me by a work colleague more than 20 years ago, who heard one of its original broadcasts on BBC radio. He spoke so highly of it, I found it frustrating that I hadn't been lucky enough to have caught it before. This production must have taken a great deal of time and effort to finalise as it is of an exemplory standard, equaling, if not surpassing that of 'A Band of Brothers', which I rate as the best World WarII production ever. It certainly brings to life the horrors of those effected by one particular raid. The noise of the Lancaster's engines is truly haunting. The way the listener is eased between different perspectives is masterful, being that of the bomber crew and their support teams, civilians and German fighter pilots. It will have you gripped from start to finish. I cannot recommend this highly enough. It certainly makes one think how lucky one is not to have been put through what so many people experienced during this time.We are so lucky that so many demonstrated such bravery to ensure the Allied victory. Buy it ... you wont be disappointed!
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb Radio Drama, 6 Nov. 2011
By 
Don Wardell (Palm Springs - KWXY Radio) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
"Bomber" takes radio drama to a new height. A large cast, superb sound effects and great attention to war time flying detail make this a truly epic production. It's told from both an English and German point of view and in real time. If you are a fan of radio drama you HAVE to hear this Production. Is this a real air raid on Germany or a work of fiction? Superb! Don Wardell KWXY Radio Palm Springs Califonia.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strike hard , strike sure - Learn what it was like for the men of Bomber Command, 16 Sept. 2011
By 
David Taylor (Harpenden , Hertfordshire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
Len Deighton completely hit the nail on the head with this epic. Adapted for radio by the BBC in the mid 1990s it was broadcast to widespread critical acclaim. I received it on tape for Christmas in my early teens and it had a profound effect on me. Recently I purchased it again on CD and it still resonates in the same way with me now as it did then.
Tom Baker's dark , heavy tones convey the drama of the action in a way that I've not come across before. The story flows beautifully between both Allied and Axis characters , but of course the main focus is on the crew of Lancaster O - Orange , it's combat fatigued captain Flight Sergeant Sam Lambert and his crew of varied personalities.
It is a tale of loss , love , action , and intense sadness and a real reflection of RAF bomber command with it's undertones of class distinction and the dreaded moniker of 'lack of moral fibre' or LMF. I can only hope more people buy this in order to get at least a taste of what it was really like for the young men of Bomber Command , many just out of school who flew night after night hundreds of miles from home over enemy territory never to return.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, compelling, harrowing and haunting., 27 Sept. 2014
By 
Thomas Naish (staffs) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
I was 9 when the RAF Museum at Hendon opened. Soon after my Dad took me. I ran past the Sopwiths, Avros, Spitfires and Hurricanes and stood awestruck under the masive shape of R5868 PO-S Sugar, an Avro Lancaster. Recently, for my fiftieth birthday my wife bought me a taxi ride in Just Jane, a Lancaster bomber owned by the Lincolnshire Aviation Heritage Museum, sited at East Kirkby, a Lancaster Bomber Base in World War Two. Inside a Lancaster is very cramped, the noise and vibration when the engines are running is incredible. I spent the 20 minute taxi ride in the rear turret. It must have been the lonliest, coldest seat on Earth.
What Bomber Command did to German cities was terrible; its effects still argued about today. But the respect for the courage of the aircrews, many of them little more than boys, is truly humbling.
I read Bomber many years ago. I re-read it every few years or so. Having now been inside a Lancaster, I know that deighton's research was meticulous and his descriptive powers in this book, areb far greater than in any other book he wrote. Bomber is his masterpiece; possibly the greatest single book about area bombing, both carrying it out and being the victim of it yet written. For this is another of the book's virtues: there are no us and them, good and bad guys; there are simply people in the air British and German, and those on the ground, in Britain and Germany, who are caught up in the terror and horror of a massive, saturation area bombing raid.
The BBC's adaption of the book is equally a masterpiece. Tom Baker's narration is right on the money, measured and objective whilst describing situations of terror and horror. I'm glad the broadcast kept in the description of the effects of the night fighter attack on a Lancaster - it emphasises how much of a sitting duck RAF bombers were. A German nightfighter, armed with explosive cannon shells, required an average of twenty hits to inflict lethal damage on an RAF bomber - about 2-3 seconds firing time. If bombers that had been attacked manage to limp home, the remains of the rear gunner would often be hosed out of the smashed carnage of his turret.
The book and the radio adaptations real strength lies in the superb balancing of the very real courage and bravery of the aircrews, British and German, whilst not flinching from the fact that area bombing was an utterly terrible, utterly indiscriminate form of warfare. However, given the constraints of the time, what else was Britain supposed to have done?
Listen to this broadcast and read the book for an utterly compelling and harrowing story of what industrialised total war is like.
One final fact: the operational life expectancy of a Lancaster bomber was 40 hours flying time; aircrews flew a 'tour' of 30 operations, each op lasting between 5-8 or even more hours. Do the maths yourselves.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


5.0 out of 5 stars Atmosphere from beginning to end, 17 Oct. 2014
By 
Verified Purchase(What is this?)
This review is from: Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) (Audio CD)
You have got to listen to this to appreciate it. It's like being there. Using drama blended in with spoken accounts from real air crew who remember the Second World War it's a magnificient blend of theatre and the real. Forget your David Niven, Kenneth Moore glamorous heroism stories this gives you the nitty gritty of the real miniature size of inside a bomber, the reality of being a sitting target whilst they took photos of the bombs landing and how they burned to death. The air crew speak of the ridiculously high odds of being killed, how afraid they were but that they were more afraid of giving up and being stigmatized as 'lacking moral fibre' and given a desk job. One air crew said he used to look at the list of who was flying and if he was on it , he would gp straight to the toilet. The story takes a balanced point of view and looks at war from the Germans point of view as well and realizes they are not all nazis and that their women and children suffer from bombing raids too.This is one of the best recordings I've ever heard and I think Len Deighton's book 'Bomber' is also listed as one of the top novels ever written of all time. I can't recommend it highly enough
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No


‹ Previous | 1 2 3 | Next ›
Most Helpful First | Newest First

This product

Bomber (BBC Radio Collection)
Bomber (BBC Radio Collection) by Tom Baker (Audio CD - 19 April 2004)
£16.34
In stock
Add to basket Add to wishlist
Only search this product's reviews