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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb and very moving
“Private Peaceful” is a moving tale about two brothers growing up in rural Devon who join the army to fight in the First World War and this production vividly and movingly realises their struggles against an unfair system that leads to the death of one and an uncertain fate for the other.

Written by Michael Morpurgo for older children, the story is...
Published 9 months ago by Ms. R. L. A. Amelan

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3.0 out of 5 stars Private Peaceful
I listened to this audio and although the story was good I felt it was more for a younger generation than myself. I nevertheless think it was well acted and of its kind a good listen.
Published 7 months ago by smartgal


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5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely superb and very moving, 12 Sept. 2014
By 
Ms. R. L. A. Amelan "Rachel" (Wilmslow, Cheshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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“Private Peaceful” is a moving tale about two brothers growing up in rural Devon who join the army to fight in the First World War and this production vividly and movingly realises their struggles against an unfair system that leads to the death of one and an uncertain fate for the other.

Written by Michael Morpurgo for older children, the story is equally relevant to adults. It reminds us of the needless deaths and deprivation of that period when the soldiers were often little more than canon fodder and sent to their fate by unwise decisions on the part of their superiors.

Tommo and Charlie start their lives as children growing up in a village community complete with its social hierarchy. From the beginning, they are in thrall to their “betters” and, when war breaks out, Tommo joins the army under age to be with his brother and avoid being considered a coward.

Unfit psychologically for this ordeal, the brothers do their best to cope with the horrors of war. Tellingly, Tommo ends up having an encounter with a German who remarks that he does not kill children. Conversely, the army sergeant and those of similar rank are inflexible and uncaring – discipline is everything and people are expendable. The upshot is predictable and sad.

This CD represents a BBC radio production and is absolutely excellent. It would be excellent for anyone doing the book as part of the school curriculum but, moreover, I recommend it to adults also. Listen out, by the way, for Michael Morpurgo as the vicar.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hopeful and heartbreaking in equal measure..., 29 Sept. 2014
By 
Stella (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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I listen to a lot of BBC radio adaptations as they fill short car journeys and make the time fly and this one was every bit as good as I'd hoped. I've actually read Private Peaceful in paperback so knew what to expect but it was as if I was hearing the story for the first time as it was brought to life by a talented cast. It's only 90 minutes long so it was perfect for the 45 min journey at the weekend and we were entertained there and back. It's aimed at middle grade and young adults but can be enjoyed by all ages as I certainly don't fit the demographic for target audience.

It's a wonderful story, as all Morpurgo's stories are, and a great taste of History for younger readers who are maybe not familiar with that time period. It's a moving tale of life during WW1 and it's hopeful and heartbreaking in equal measure and the cast did a marvelous job of bringing it all to life.

It will be enjoyable for anyone who is already familiar with the story and also a great introduction to Historical Fiction for anyone new to the genre. Michael Morpurgo is a very talented author who brings any story he writes to life and this one would be perfect for tempting a reluctant reader to try out some more of his tales.

I'd definitely recommend this. I've never listened to a BBC radio dramatisation I've been disappointed by, nor read a poor Morpurgo story.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful WW1 children's book dramatised to good effect, 10 Sept. 2014
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Arkgirl (North Yorkshire) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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This is a great companion for lovers of the book and an excellent introduction for newcomers. It is a short novel and the radio adaption is only 90 minutes long but this WW1 tale is a powerful and heart-breaking take on that conflict that is beautifully told. It centres on Tommo, his older brother, Charlie, and there young friend, Molly, as they progress from childhood through, for the boys, to the horrors of the trenches. They are ordinary young people affected by the extraordinary events and although aimed at top Primary age it has a powerful message for all ages.
It was partly recorded in Iddesleigh the village where the book is set and interestingly also the home of War Horse and the dialogue and narration are broken up with some folk singing and snatches of hymns. The actors mainl do a great job although I was slightly distracted by Nicholas Lyndhurst who sometimes sounded a bit grumpy Rodney-ish!
The breaking up bu music would allow for this to be used in the classroom in short bursts as storytime when covering WW1, a key Y5/6 topic, and it is a great length for a car journey.
Would certainly recommend this audio but would also say, for me, the book has even more emotional impact.
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4.0 out of 5 stars This book is beautifully written; concisely told, 30 Sept. 2014
By 
H. Ashford "hashford" (Sheffield, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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In this short book, Morpurgo introduces us to two brothers, Thomas and Charlie Peaceful. We first meet them as children (together with their childhood friend, Molly) in the years prior to WW1. When war breaks out both boys sign up (although Thomas, who now calls himself “Tommo”) is underage, and we get a glimpse of the horrors of trench warfare.

This book is beautifully written; concisely told, it doesn’t dwell on the gruesome, but neither does it gloss over the horrific events it portrays. Despite the horrible nature of the main event, the book manages to pay tribute to a different sort of courage – that of picking up a life and moving on.

This is a review not just of the book itself, but of the BBC dramatisation of it on 2 CDs. You expect high quality dramatisation from the BBC (well I do), and this doesn’t disappoint. I particularly liked the use of folk & popular/war songs from the era, which gave it a real sense of time and place.

Highly recommended to both adults and teeenagers
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars sad and sweet, 2 Sept. 2014
By 
Lucky cat (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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A lovely war story by Michael Murpurgo, sad and sweet.
Comes on 2 CD and has a running time of 1hour 30 minutes
Beautifully read. A nice calm way to end the day instead of t.v or even to listen to in bed rather than reading.
A good way of filling a long car journey instead of the same old radio/CD.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Private Peaceful BBC Radio Drama (90 minutes) - strong and immersive., 24 Sept. 2014
By 
N. Gratton "Photographer" (Exeter) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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This is a review of the BBC Radio Drama on two audio CD's; amazon have an unhealthy habit of lumping reviews of all different versions in together so please be aware of this.

The narrative dips into the life of two brothers growing up in Devon at the start of the 20th century, entering the world of work and then signing up to fight in Belgium against the Germans in the 'Great War'. While Michael Morpurgo is a children's author, the story pulls no punches emotionally. I found it convincing and immersive, pulling me into the scenes and leaving me feeling totally involved and rooting for the Peaceful brothers.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good introduction to WW1 for younger listeners, quite short, 10 Sept. 2014
This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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Private Peaceful is a story of two brothers in the First World War. It is quite a standard WW1 tale, but written for children/young adults, and would be a great introduction to the complexities and horrors of the conflict for those of a young age.

The dramatisation is quite short, under 2 hours, so would suit a car journey or similar.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Private Peaceful, 21 Nov. 2014
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
I listened to this audio and although the story was good I felt it was more for a younger generation than myself. I nevertheless think it was well acted and of its kind a good listen.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Child Maketh the Soldier, 4 Sept. 2014
By 
Eugene Onegin (Lincoln England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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Michael Morpurgo’s take on a World War One Story employs his great gift for writing about childhood and teenage years to offer a different perspective on a British soldier’s path to the trenches. For this is much more the story of the relationship between two brothers than it is a tale from the battlefield-Morpurgo’s aims to offer an insight into the kind of life those taking the king’s shilling were living before they started to wear the khaki-lives full of struggle, poverty and sacrifice as well as of childhood rivalries in life and in the love of the same sweetheart. The two brothers Charlie and Tommo share a strong fraternal bond, but differ in personality the former older, cocksure , willing to break the laws on poaching to find food and no lover of the ruling classes, Tommo more reserved, sensitive and plagued by misplaced guilt for his own father’s death. Neither the stories or themes are especially original, but Morpurgo cleverly uses the first half of the play to subtly build up character traits and experiences which will inform the judgements and mentality of the brothers as they fight side by side in Belgium. The second half of the play then works out the implications of that childhood in the blood, gore and appalling leadership of the senior soldiers. The play’s conclusion offers no easier answers or conclusions as it ends with the thought that we remember the past not the present in our darkest hours. As a production it has some flaws, the three younger actors sound very similar in the childhood scenes, whilst the necessary adaptation of a novel for radio makes for a rather staccato, episodic presentation of the action interspersed with a cappella folk songs which are an acquired taste which I did not acquire. The acting from company is good although Nicolas Lyndhurst sounds rather out of character as a bellowing parade Company Sergeant. The documentation is poor in the sense that there is no tracking information despite the fully cued cds. With a running time of about 87 minutes this is an involving and thought-provoking rather than a dramatic view of two boy’s path to war caught in clear sound recorded on location in Devon.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not what I thought it was, 2 Sept. 2014
By 
J. N. Bullock "JNB" (Northumberland, England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) (Audio CD)
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I had the BBC Radio Dramatisation of this book and I cannot see anywhere in the publicity material that it is advertised as a story for young people aged 10+. It took several minutes of head shaking before I caught on to the error.

However, as a 60 something, I thought the story would be suitable for young people as seeks to give a flavour of how unimaginably horrific trench warfare in the Great War would have been. I have not read the book, but perhaps the CD would be a great 'add on' if it was a set text in schools.

The CD is well produced with good characterisation and themes with which young people will perhaps be familiar - particularly appropriate at this time of anniversary for the Great War.
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Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading)
Private Peaceful: A BBC Radio Drama (BBC Radio Reading) by Michael Morpurgo (Audio CD - 17 July 2014)
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