With its first broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on March 8, 1981, this dramatised tale of Middle Earth became an instant global classic. It boasts a truly outstanding cast including Ian Holm (as Frodo), Sir Michael Hordern (as Gandalf), Robert Stephens (as Aragorn), Bill Nighy (as Sam Gamgee) and John Le Mesurier (as Bilbo).
Brian Sibley's famous adaptation has been divided into three corresponding parts, with newly-recorded beginning and end narration by Ian Holm, who now stars as Bilbo in the feature films based on The Lord of the Rings.
Part One, The Fellowship of the Ring, introduces us to Frodo Baggins. With his uncle Bilbo having mysteriously disappeared, Frodo finds himself in possession of a simple gold ring that has great and evil power. It is the Ruling Ring, taken long ago from the Dark Lord, Sauron, who now seeks to possess it again. Frodo must do everything he can to prevent this, and with the help of Gandalf the wizard and a band of loyal companions he begins a perilous journey across Middle-earth. Sauron's Black Riders are on their trail as they travel to Rivendell, attempt to cross the snow-swept Misty Mountains and, in desperation, enter the terrifying Mines of Moria.
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Fellowship of the Ring
For many, this was - and remains - the definitive production on Tolkien's epic work. Even the production team on the movie trilogy used to listen to this serial while working on the films. Ian Holm (who played Bilbo Baggins in the movies) plays the part of Frodo Baggins in this version and even returned nearly 20 years later to record new introductions and epilogues for this release - though, to listen to it, you wouldn't know that such time had passed. The reason this version is so good is that it doesn't rush to tell its tale and remains very faithful to the spirit of the book - with minimal changes to Tolkien's original story and a much more intimate feel than you get with its big screen counterpart. With a fantastic cast of respected names in theatre and television and a musical score that, while small, conveys all the grandeur of the films, this is a production you will want to enjoy over and over.
If you haven't read the books, you'll need to invest a good hour listening and working out who is who before the story really starts to get going (there is a lot of background to cover) but for those who are willing to put in the effort, the benefits are immense. If you thought the movies are the only way that Tolkien's work could be realised, then give this a listen. You'll be very pleasantly surprised. This release covers part one of the trilogy and the price isn't bad either.
I remember this from when it was first broadcast on the radio. I have listened to it so many times I can almost quote it all. I later read the book (many times) and I love this adaptation. It is true to the book in a way the films aren't. I look forwards to sharing this with my children when they are old enough.
Why is it in MONO!!!
Absolutely fantastic radio dramatisation but why does iTunes release it in mono, it ruins the effect completely, buy the CD instead yes its more expensive but its much better quality and doesn't have any DRM attached to it either!