BBC LOTR radio play, Questions spawned by

Hi there,

Listened to the final part of the BBC radio play of LOTR tonight.
I have very much enjoyed listening to it of an evening sitting in my chair with a cup of tea and a pop-tart and feeling pretty damn hobbity.

The production is from the early 80s, 82 iirc, and has Ian Holm (Bilbo in the film) as Frodo. It included the campiest Aragorn ever (think Alan Rickman in “evil” mode) and the BEST. GOLLUM. EVAH.
It is somewhere between perfection and cringeworthy camp, and imho thoroughly entertaining. I especially love all the musical numbers. Yes, they include many of the songs from the book, set to music. Anyone else here heard the play? Impressions?

Anyhow, the last of the 13 episodes left me with two major questions (well major my ass, but hey), and I thought I could get some responses from people who have heard the play or some of those remember the books verbatim.

  1. As the Hob lads return to the Shire, Frodo cries out as a warning to the Ruffians, “Lay a hand on him and you will be shot!”. Um, with what? Could I have missheard (don’t think so), is this in the original texts or did the BBC players just get sloshed that night?

  2. Gestation period of the common Hobbit.
    The lads make it back to Rivendell, and its Bilbos birthday. Elrond tells Frodo, meet you in a years time in the woods. Exactly one year later they meet up. At this point Sam has a 6 month old daughter. Now I know that there are a number of different calenders and measures of time in the books, but as I have understood it when reading them, JRR seemed to commonly use one that corresponded fairly closely to “our time”. How does the math work out? Taking into consideration the time it took to rebuild the Shire, to court and finally marry Rosie, and then to pop out wee baby-hob, Rosie can only have been preggers about 10 mins…

I have that on tape! I love it, even the silly bits (Gollum and the Giant Stapler, the rabid-turkey Nazgul, and Snaga the Camp Orc. Though not the singing eagle ;)). Ian Holm rocks my world. As does Peter Woodthorpe (Gollum). And when I read the books I always hear Sam’s lines in Bill Nighy’s voice.

I don’t think it’s “cringeworthy camp.” They had a low budget and not a lot of time to record it, but still…

Oh, and I seem to be one of the few people who likes Robert Stephens as Aragorn. :smiley:

As for question (1) – arrows, perhaps? :wink:

Haven’t heard the radio play, but here are some guesses:

1: Was Frodo hidden from view, and pretending he had a bow? Or that he was with hidden companions armed with bows?

2: Maybe Sam slipped some of that earth he got at Lothlorien in Rosie’s tea, and it made the kid grow faster. Maybe Hobbits have really short gestation periods, and he got her pregnant the night they got back. Maybe they have really long gestation periods, and Sam knocked her up before they left. Maybe Rosie’s been stepping out, and Sam just sucks at math.

For the 1. nope, he wasn’t hidden or anything such, he had called out the Hobbits of the town, saying he was back and they had come out of their houses. Hobbitness suggests they would not be armed, and iirc the books have the uprising occur with mainly farming implements turned to weapons (scythes etc). The Hobbits don’t really strike me as archers, and we don’t hear anything about Legolas training Frodo & Co or giving them presents of bows etc.

Katisha I meant campy in the best possible way! There is a certain song that completely cracked me up, I woke MrsIteki because I was just shaking with laughter at about 3 in the morning. I wonder if it wasn’t the eagles as you say? Hmm will re-listen and report! What’s this giant stapler thing you mention?

Miller, I love the last two suggestions on the gestation period! Laffing my ass off :slight_smile: You should look up the play it’s, eh, available…

I thought it was interesting that the film and the first chapters of the play include and exclude almost the exact same parts… No Tom, no barrow-wights etc

Spoilers below.

Hobbits were excellent bowmen, as well as very skilled with just throwing things as well.
From Return of the King : The Scouring of the Shire

A few lines further…

Also, it was two years after they left Rivendell that Frodo met Bilbo and left with him over the sea.
Sept 22nd S.R. (Shire Reconing) 1419 - Bilbos 129th B-Day.
Oct 6th S.R. 1419 - First aniverisary of weathertop.
1-3 Novemeber S.R. 1419 - Scouring of the Shire, death of Saruman.
March 23rd S.R. 1420 - Frodo ill, first aniversary of Shelobs poisoning him.
March 25th S.R. 1420 - First aniversary of the fall of Sauron.
May 1st S.R. 1420 - Sam marries Rose.
Sept 22nd S.R. 1420 - Bilbo’s 130th B-Day.
Oct 6th S.R. 1420 - Frodo ill, 2nd aniv, Weathertop.
March 23rd S.R. 1421 - Frodo ill, 2nd aniv, Shelob.
March 25th S.R. 1421 - 2nd aniv fall of Sauron, Birth of Elanor.
Sept 22nd S.R. 1421 - Bilbo’s 131st B-Day, Frodo meets Bilbo, Elrond, and Galadrial on the way to the Havens.
Sept 29th S.R. 1421 - Frodo and Bilbo board the ship and sail over the sea.
Oct 6th S.R. 1421 - Sam returns home.

Tolkien liked certain dates it is obvious.
The gestation of Elanor obviously is not nessisarily that short, even though she was. :slight_smile:

Didn’t the same guy who voiced the BBC Gollum also do the voice of the Jackson Gollum?

Oh, I am such a fool Narile, thank you!
When you post the quote I remember thinking how very “hostage negotiator” Merry sounded with his crack team of archers. In the play it just stands alone tho and becomes very out of place.

Apparantly Andy Serkis will be the movie Gollum. From the trailers he sounds quite good, but I have a hard time believing anyone could ever top the BBC Gollum, you can really hear him fighting within himself, and being torn between Gollum and Smeagol. He is totally fantastic! Hmmm… I wonder would it be copywrite infringement to post about 10 seconds of him speaking?

Doh of course it’s two years :frowning: When he said he had beaten the Old Took I thought he had made 30, when of course it would be 31 shakes head at self

No (as Iteki explained) – but he did do the voice of Gollum in the Bakshi movie. He wasn’t even the only Bakshi alumnus in the production; Michael Graham Cox played Boromir in both versions (as well as in the American radio version, which I’ve haven’t heard but hear isn’t very good). Which kinda ruins Boromir’s scenes for me, as I can’t seem to get the image of Bakshi’s rendering out of my head – a horned helmet and no pants. :eek:

Aaahhhh!!! That makes sense, cos I have been been torn between whether the BBC one or the Bakshi one was best… Since I last saw the ani-flick when I was 8 or so I decided in favour of the BBC version. Is anyone counting my eejit-points for this thread?