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The BBC Audio badge on the cover gives the first indication that this Radio Drama, first broadcast in February, 2009, will be something special and that view is confirmed when you hear the Radio show on this 2 disc CD set.
It lasts 1 hour and 40 minutes and does not overstay its welcome one iota- indeed the play could have so easily been padded out. The CD was a welcome companion on a 2hour return journey

Now the book was great- written by Well's in his early 20s and published back in January to May 1895.
The theme of time travel in this form has been copied many times indeed I believe Dr Who is a child of H G Wells in that he is an inheritor of the type of book Wells originated.

Now the problem with the play is that quite a lot of the story needs to be visualised.
Bear with me on this- in the film of the book the effect of travelling through Time was cleverly conveyed via a manikin in a ladies clothing shop opposite the Time Traveller's laboratory. The clothes dictated by fashion would constantly change with the fashions of the Times.

In this radio play Philip Osment has had to go back to the drawing board in writing a credible script.
The Time Traveller travels alone unlike say Dr Who so there is no interplay of the Time Traveller having to explain his actions and views to a companion.
Like a typical example of dialogue How doe this thing work Dr? Oh I see like a jazzed up can opener... and the like.
But Weena does not speak English so Osment has used a clever plot twist of her learning English and The Traveller learning Eloi.
The old Twinkle Twinkle Little Star was a very clever and charming device in the story. Far fetched? Not quite. The Dutch speaking children inhabitants of an Island sing a version of Jack and Jill which has no meaning BUT ultimately must have been given them by the former English Garrison that were poster there over a 100 years before. The words have changed (to nonsense Jock Un Jill Wont Opp der Hill) but the Rhythm of the piece us what remains.

Osment has cleverly used William Gaunt playing HG Wells and relating his story of the Traveller to a young Hart.
This works well.
Robert Glennister does a fine job as the unnamed Time Traveller as does William Gaunt as the aged H G Wells.

Where Osment scores highly is that he has written a clever take or twist on the story by having Weena, the childlike Woman of the future now called Eloi have a more active roll.
Jill Cardo, the actress that portrays her, uses Osment's script to bring the Travellers adventure to like together with a primitive recording device that he takes with him. The recording is replayed and thus we have a good way of imagining the actions. This coupled with HG Wells retelling the story to Donna Huges (Martha).
Is the production any good? Yes/
Is it worth buying Yes.
This will enliven a dull car journey and maybe.. just maybe make Time travel just that bit faster for you so you seem to arrive at your destination just that bit quicker.....
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on 17 September 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
H G Well's `The Time Machine' is a well deserved science fiction classic. It was a forward thinking book for its time that introduced ideas on socialism and democracy within a science fiction setting. I have read the book and I loved it, therefore a radio play on the book should have suited me. The BBC are excellent at producing radio plays and the quality shines through once more. The voice acting is strong, especially Robert Glenister as the Traveller. I also really liked the ambient sounds that paint an aural picture of you of a far off future. The use of language for the Eloi is a little strange, but is in keeping with the time the novel was written.

So what was the problem with the CD? One issue is with the book itself. `The Time Machine' is a book of its time and it does feel very dated and a little strange when the Traveller s falls for the child like woman - I have always been a little uncomfortable about this. The biggest issue is with this particular adaptation. The BBC have added an additional layer of the older Wells narrating the book. This causes two problems; he claims that his book was real and that he was there, he then dictates the entire tale once again to a woman who has already read the book - why, if she already knows what happens? Secondly, the CD ends up being about an old man talking about himself as a younger man, who in turn is talking about another man, who in turn is using a recording device - 4 layers of narration, when 2 would have done!

For someone who has not read the original text this may not prove an issue, but for me it made this adaptation overly complex. The quality of drama and recording is exceptionally high, the CD cover art is nostalgic and fun, and the accompanying notes are informative. However, none of these can make up for someone trying to rewrite something that was already good enough in its original form.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a new twist on the classic HG Wells story. It starts off as Mr Wells is doing a radio broadcast, after which he talks to Martha, a journalist, telling her that his famous book The Time Machine was fact not fiction, and he was there when the time traveller came back from the future, and so starts telling the story.

From here, you are put in the place of the traveller as he goes forward in time to a place where two races of people exist, the Eloi who are a small joyous peaceful race living above ground, eating the exotic fruits that are in abundance and not having a care in the world, and the Morlocks, white creatures that live underground hating the light, providing clothing for the Eloi and treating them like cattle, ready to be eaten. The time traveller has a recording device that he narrates into as he travels the area for future reference and as proof he went to the future when he gets back to his time, and this tells us what is happening to him throughout the story, very ingenious.

I have watched both films, the early 1960 classic and the mediocre 2002 remake, but this is slightly different to both. For starters, you travel through time to the future to meet the Eloi and Morlocks in one trip. In the films, the traveller stops twice to view the surroundings and interact with some people. Also, in this version the Eloi are a small race about 4 feet tall that speak a different language. There are also other minor differences throughout this story compared to the films, but this in turn makes it a really good story to listen to, a lot better than just hearing the same story we know again.

The sound effects are very good, the Eloi having a language all of their own, the Morlocks sounding like a big cat ready to strike, walking through the museum, running through the vegetation and down the air-shafts into the Morlocks world are some examples.

I would have given it 5 stars but felt it was over a little too soon, with an ending that could have been improved, but all in all, a very entertaining audio CD and is recommended for any Sci-Fi fan to listen to.
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VINE VOICEon 7 September 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At the height of the Blitz a young American journalist is sent to interview the legendary H G Wells. He relates to her a fascinating experience from his youth about a man who managed to time-travel far into the future. Classic stories always bear re-telling, and this one is no exception. It is atmospheric and refreshingly-free of politically-correct gimmicks, staying true to the spirit of H G Wells' work. Two things stood out for me personally about this production. One is that on the practical level every word spoken was as clear as a bell. I'm partially deaf so this means a lot to me. The other is the ending, where the time-traveller goes even further forward in time to the very end of the world (it reminded me of William Hope Hodgeson's 'The House On The Borderland'). This was outstanding. Top-notch production, easily bears more than one listen. Highly-recommended. 5/5.
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on 4 November 2010
/Warning: this review contains plot-spoilers/ This new BBC adaptation is framed by a new narrative set in the London Blitz, in which an old H.G. Wells is fire-watching while talking to one of his young women-friends. He reveals that he was present at the original dinner-party of the Time Traveller, and that his novelette was a true account. There are several additions and changes to the original published novelette: i) there is no mention of the fourth dimension and the philosophical/scientific element has been entirely cut out; ii) the Time Traveller now carries with him the Victorian equivalent of a portable dictaphone to record his voice; iii) the brief section set 'at the end of the earth' is a re-combination and conflation of two different and longer sections that Wells decided to leave out of his final published book; iv) the presence of Wells at the dinner-party means that the BBC is able to hammer home the 'socialist' message of the story with its usual crude gusto; v) we're asked to believe that in the 800,000's a children's nursery rhyme will somehow have survived from 1899, and will be known to Weena; and vi) the prototype time-machine model returns from the far future, sent back by the Time Traveller with a note for Wells and some of the audio recordings. This is an adaptation that moves along with admirable briskness, but to the extent that it sometimes feels rushed in places. The audio clarity is all you'd expect from the experts at the BBC, although the Eloi language is really far too much like Spanish (possibly Esperanto?) to convince. The Morlocks, on the other hand, are very well voiced and convincingly menacing. Overall, this is a recommended audio adaptation that's probably best listened to after reading the original book. For those curious about what happened afterwards, there are good sequels by Baxter, Haden and Lake.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
It's surprising that it's taken more than a century for the BBC to get around to the first UK radio adaptation of one of H.G. wells' most famous novels, but as if to compensate there's a curiously old-fashioned feel to this 2008 production. Using the dual framing devices of Wells, after one of his wartime broadcasts on the future of mankind during the height of the blitz, giving an interview to an American reporter revealing the novel was a true story while the Time Traveller carries the main body of the story via cyclinder recordings he sends back in time, there's a constant shift between past and present tense in the presentation which is an interesting stylistic device, albeit a little cluttered - especially when you have Wells telling of how the Time Traveller told him what he was told by the Eloi, splintering the narrative like a set of Russian dolls.

Unfortunately, the tale suffers both from over-familiarity - for the most part it covers the same ground as George Pal's classic 1960 film (though unlike that, there's no implication that the time traveller is Wells himself) - and dilution, with Wells socialist speculations on the way war, time and reversion ultimately reduce the capitalist system to barely human beasts feeding on cattle-like simpletons reduced to the bare minimum in favour of the adventure aspects. Even in this it's not always successful: the language of the Eloi sounds childish in an unconvincing way and brings back memories of the days in the 60s and 70s when children were regularly dubbed by women badly faking boys' voices, while there's a very `radio acting' feel to the performances that never feels natural enough to draw you fully into the story and accentuates the artificiality. But it does gain points for including the bleak ending even if it never quite has the impact it should. Interesting, but not essential.
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on 3 September 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Time Machine is a classic piece of escapist literature and is very much of it's time. Although I find it difficult to believe this was aparantly the first such adaptation of this work to radio. We have the central story of the time machine - Inventor builds a time machine and travels into the far future where the human race is split into two species (the Eloi and the Morlocks) the Eloi are child like and have few cares, whilst the Morlocks live underground and have reverted into an apelike state. We follow his struggle to escape this world and return back to the present.

The radio play adds an additional twist - the original dinner party from the book is atteneded by Wells and in an additional prologue to the story he tells us at the end of his life that the story was true and he decided that he could not tell the people of the world how it would all end (this is not particulary successful and adds little to the story).

The major part of the story is the Time Traveller himself, either from in the future or talking to his guests - these portions are quite well done but who would have guessed that the people of future would sound a little bit italian?!

We also get and odd coda to the story where Wells returns the next day to see the time traveller and recieves a gift. This gift is a recording made by the Time Traveller and returned to the present. Again this didn't add much for me.

The Time Traveller is a story as much about escapism as it is about the future of mankind and it during the escapit elements of the story that this radio play come to life, when it gets to the points where Wells tries to educate mankind it can get a bit stodgy (a bit like some of Wells' writing to be honest).

Some if it is good, some of it is not so good - the Prologue and the coda.
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Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is a full cast audio production of the Time Machine from The BBC, originally broadcast in Feb 2009. The cast includes Philip Glennister as The Time Traveller, and William Gaunt as H.G Wells.

It's been a long time since I read the book. If my memory is accurate however, this adaptation is pretty faithful to the original text. The only major differences being the inclusion of H.G. Wells himself as the dinner guest who narrates the story, and a slight alteration to the ending, to include both the original published ending, and (I believe) another ending written by H.G Wells at the insistence of his publisher, but ultimately cut from the book. The first is a minor difference that allows for a strong narrating voice, the second is also minor and doesn't really change anything, but does add some extra insight into the ultimate fate of mankind.

The production is very nicely done. Gaunt is excellent as the world weary and disillusioned idealist, who, in one night during the Blitz, relates the 'true events' behind his most famous book of 50 years ago to a journalist. Glennister is the ideal casting choice for the Time Traveller (but don't listen to this expecting to hear a Victorian Gene Hunt!), and manages to show all the facets of the character. A lot of work has clearly gone into this production, with some excellent sound effects, and the development of a language for the Eloi which was very believable. The story crack along at a nice pace, with the cuts form 1943 London to the Victorian dinner party to the far future being placed in such a manner as to keep things ticking over nicely.

A little more effort might have gone into the CD production. The liner notes consist of a largely uninteresting essay from the producer regarding some of the narrative devices and a truncated copy of the original radio times listing. A few more notes regarding the book, the history of the production etc. would have been nice. Or even a few photos of cast and crew.

All in all a decent tale well told. Worth getting for the interesting other ending, and the excellent performances of Gaunt and Glennister.
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VINE VOICEon 17 November 2009
First broadcast on BBC radio earlier this year The Time Machine makes a welcome apperance on audio CD for those who either missed the original broadcast or wish to hear the play again. Apparantly this classic HG Wells story has never before made an appearance on radio. Maybe after the infamous War of the Worlds broadcast in the 1930s, when many listeners in The USA really did think that the martians had invaded and subsequently fled their homes, radio stations have stayed clearer of the writer. Bringing the production to life are two familar British actors, Robert Glennister who is best known for the series Hustle, but also has appeared in Doctor Who amongst many programmes, and William Gaunt who has also appeared in Doctor Who and starred in many programmes including The Champions. These two actors, familar with fantasy and science fiction, really seem to enjoy their roles here, with Gaunt playing the author HG Wells who recounts the story of The Time Travelller to an American journalist during the war in 1943. In an idea that was also explored in a slightly different context in the 1985 Doctor Who story Timelash, the story is that HG Wells actually witnessed the events for himself. This is a different approach to the original book, in which HG Wells did not appear as himself, but it works well and this adaption is more memorable than the film from a few years back staring Guy Pearce. This CD is recommended.
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VINE VOICEon 15 October 2009
Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
In this excellent audio-book, the Time Traveller tells his story to H. G. wells before disappearing forever.
Set during the war, H.G. is about to do a broadcast on radio and relates his tale to a young lady journalist. He explains that his famous time maching was not in fact fictional but was absolutely real. The Time Traveller has recorded his adventures on a simple recording device and is narrated by the man himself. Wells admits that he changed the ending in his book as he felt that the truth would have been too upsetting for his Victorian readers.
I must admit that I have not actually read "The Time Machine but I did see the Rod Taylor film and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I feel that in the true B.B.C. tradition, this editi9on is an excellent production and at only 1hr 40mins can be listened to at one sitting.
Personally, I played my copy in the car - great because the disc is in chapters and can be stopped and started.
Well worth a perusal.
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