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The earliest Tolkien radio adaptation

14 March 2022 | Sacnoth’s ScriptoriumJohn D. Rateliff

So, thanks to Yvette for the link to The Guardians piece on the rediscovery of scripts and notes from Terence Tiller’s 1955 – 56 twelve-part radio adaptation/​dramatization of The Lord of the Rings. We’ve known about this for a long time — JRRT discusses his misgivings about the project in two letters to Tiller (cf. Letters pp. 253 – 55) — but had few details (e.g. that unlike most adaptations of LotR it included Bombadil). The most valuable thing about this re-discovery is that it recovers a page in Tolkien’s handwriting in which he offers up a suggested rewriting of a scene.…


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So, thanks to Yvette for the link to THE GUARDIAN’s piece on the rediscovery of scripts and notes from Terence Tiller’s 1955 – 56 twelve-part radio adaptation/​dramatization of THE LORD OF THE RINGS. We’ve known about this for a long time — JRRT discusses his misgivings about the project in two letters to Tiller (cf. LETTERS .253−255) — but had few details (e.g. that unlike most adaptations of LotR it included Bombadil).* 

The most valuable thing about this re-discovery is that it recovers a page in Tolkien’s handwriting in which he offers up a suggested rewriting of a scene. 

The oddest thing about the whole enterprise is Tolkien’s pronouncement that his was a book very unsuitable for dramatic or semi-dramatic representation’ (.255). If he didn’t think it was a good idea, then why did he authorize it?

Be that as it may, I look forward to Stuart Lee’s piece (and I assume other bits of early Tolkien audio material) on this in the CT festschrift, THE GREAT TALES NEVER END (due out in June), which I’m eagerly waiting.

Here’s the link

https://​www​.the​guardian​.com/​f​i​l​m​/​2​0​2​2​/​m​a​r​/​1​2​/​h​o​a​r​d​-​o​f​-​t​h​e​-​r​i​n​g​s​-​l​o​s​t​-​s​c​r​i​p​t​s​-​f​o​r​-​b​b​c​-​t​o​l​k​i​e​n​-​d​r​a​m​a​-​d​i​s​c​o​vered

–JDR., on the verge of another research visit to Marquette

–current reading: between books.

*see LETTERS p. 228 for Tolkien’s response to a listener, in which JRRT is driven to the expedience of resorting to exclamation marks (four in one paragraph) to express his dismay over Bombadil’s treatment.

[Full text is provided here in the event that the original blog post is no longer available. If possible, please read the original post at SACNOTH'S SCRIPTORIUM - John D. Rateliff's Official Website.]

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source URL 🌐Sacnoth's Scriptorium: The Earliest Tolkien radio adaptation (the 1950s HOBBIT)
date recorded 📅2022-03-20
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