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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 7 December 2013
This production introduced me to Tolkien when I was nine. I missed the final episode because I had Brownies on Friday and spent my pocket money on the book to find out the end! Over thirty years later I still love Tolkien and remembered loving it but I couldn't remember much about the actual production other than Bernard Cribbins (voice of my childhood) and listened again with a certain amount of trepidation fearing that I would not love as an adult what I had loved as a child and thinking it might have been better to leave memory untarnished. Much to my relief, it still had a great deal of charm.

It is an abridged version, of course, but what is there IS Tolkien. Jan Francis makes a warm and lively narrator who keeps the story moving. Bernard Cribbins is as perfect as Bilbo as I remember him while Maurice Denham and David Wood do sterling work as just about everyone else! One small quibble is that Elrond sounds more mad professor than elf lord but as a stand alone tale this is rather nit picky. On the radio you do have to ring the changes somehow.

It is very much a children's story still and while a lot of detail is inevitably missing I believe it would make as good an introduction to Tolkien now as it did for me all those years keeps the story as a fairly light romp. I think it would be a good adjunct to the new Jemima Catlin illustrated Hobbit (whose cover it shares). I am sure many do and will enjoy the Jackson films, but this is a Hobbit which is suitable for a very young audience and which prepares those who move on to the book to discover its extra richness.
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There are no few audiobooks of Tolkiens classic to be had so a new version needs something different.
The BBC have certainly managed that with this beautifully judged reading. The cast list may have Bernard Cribbins as Bilbo but his air time is pretty limited, excellent, but brief nonetheless.
This doesn't hold things back though as the rest of the small cast are great value for money and Maurice Denham is especially good.
Most credit goes to Jan Francis expressive and clear narration. This is a childrens programme and her sense of wonderment and surprise is infectious.
The music too is excellent and the two different tunes either end of each 15 minute episode may be brief but are quite lovely.
Obviously much is cut back and this is sort of an in depth synopsis with the odd acted scene thrown in but still this quickly draws you in and although moving at a pace is still full of detail and never fails to hold the listeners interest.
A great hark back to the glory days of Jackanory and a well judged release that is very welcome.
The lost star is simply because if you really had to choose just one version of 'The Hobbit' then this would lose out to the BBC's other classic and far fuller drama from 1968 The Hobbit Both drama's are well worth buying however and are easily recommended.
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on 26 August 2014
I came across this by accident and had to order it immediately as this is a recording of one of my clearest childhood memories, the 2 week long Jackanory broadcast of The Hobbit from 1979. It is a faithful telling of the text with a group of talented actors delivering the story very much in the way I had always imagined Tolkien himself intended. Essentially, listening to this recording is a delightful experience and I recommend it.
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on 20 September 2015
I bought this for my children based on the reviews and I was really disappointed. It is far too edited. You totally lose the beauty of the language from the book. Also the action is so fast paced that it feels like this: "oh no - there is danger, but look let's do this, great that worked, now it's fine!"
So there is no build up of tension, all the drama is just gone. Also sometimes if feels like the reading speeds up - I know it is an old recording transferred to CD and I think something went wrong in the process. I would avoid this and find a different version!
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on 15 October 2014
Bought this so that my 5 year old could enjoy the story (I'd just reread it and it reminded me what a great story it is). He absolutely loves it; it's played in the car and at home. The end of 'chapters' with music is excellent as they give a natural break when we can talk about what has just happened and pick up again later on. He talks about the characters and is really engrossed in the story; I wish they did one similar for The Lord of the Rings trilogy. I would recommend this for young children.
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on 1 November 2015
good for kids , as it's the sound track from the TV show so you get the breaks for the two weeks it was aired for , not the whole book word for word but gets the story told in a nice way
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on 21 October 2015
Wonderful listen, busy crafting with grandchildren
Beautifully read Vann definitely recommend
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on 17 November 2015
Kept everyone from age 7 to 47 entertained on 5 hour drive to Northumberland. Now is a firm favourite in the evening. Would recommend.
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on 6 December 2015
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on 10 January 2016
First heard this version on jackanory, and finally found it, great retelling of a great story.
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