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BBC Rerunning Radio Lord of the Rings 113

Motor writes "I'm not sure if I'm doing the BBC website a favour by mentioning this, but BBC Radio 4 is, from Saturday the 5th of January, running their excellent radio serialisation of The Lord of the Rings in thirteen, one hour weekly episodes. I'm not sure how much load the streaming system can handle though :)" Make a note of it, and save 'em. The LotR radio show is very acclaimed.
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BBC Rerunning Radio Lord of the Rings

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  • Ian Holm. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dsb3 ( 129585 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @12:50PM (#2749453) Homepage Journal
    I find it very interesting the way Ian Holm plays Frodo in the Radio adaptation, and later Bilbo in the movie.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      That's kind of neat, but..

      Did anyone else notice that Iam Holm in the movie looked a *lot* like J.R.R. Tolkien himself? And that it got more pronounced the older he got, reaching its most striking at rivendell, when Bilbo is showing Frodo "there and back again".. i thought that was kind of cute, especially given the whole bit about Tolkien thinking of Bilbo as self-insertion, and how the maps on Bilbo's desk were reproductions of Tolkien's originals..

      I don't know, maybe i just imagined it, and it isn't quite relevant to any thread on the BBC series. I just thought i'd post this because i was curious as to whether anyone else watching the movie had thought the same thing, and this seemed as good a way as any to take a straw poll.

      - super ugly ultraman
    • I find it very interesting the way Ian Holm plays Frodo in the Radio adaptation, and later Bilbo in the movie.

      This isn't the only connection. Longstanding Tolkien aficionado Brian Sibley, who co-scripted the BBC radio adaptation, is producing the official guide to the Peter Jackson movies. []

    • John Le Meserier played Bilbo in the radio version, and he too had been in a Middle-Earth production before. He played Gandalf in the BBC radio Hobbit production.

      I personally hoped they'd bring back the person who played Gollum. There's simply no point in anyone else trying - it was done to perfection in this version.


    • did you go to a U.K. post office and pay for this ?

      alot of the people here did not why should we the british have to put up with the U.S. using the bandwidth that 'I' payed for !

      oh and if a record company see's the bbc broadcasting their music for free so that people dont buy their music from the shops they just wont let the BBC play it


      john jones
      • What the hell are u talking about? If you are referring to the British tax dollars that go towards BBC?s programming get a life. I assume that since you read slashdot you support the open source movement... Ok wait a sec I think I get it now... If you get something for ?free? (open source doesn?t cost anyone anything right? No time or resources are involved it just appears.) that?s great. But if someone uses up .25 cent of the bandwidth YOUR tax dollars paid for you?re up in arms.

        Consider this Einstein:
        The BCC is selling copies of this broadcast and as a result of their Internet broadcast they have effectively increased the size of their market from Britain to the world. Pretty good way to invest YOUR tax dollars if you ask me.

        Also consider this:
        Maybe, just maybe, a wonderful organization like the BBC appreciates that cultural programming such as the LOTF broadcast can and should be appreciated be an audience as large as as economicly feesable. Isn?t that the whole purpose of the BBC?

        I could go on and on but to be honest with u I think you just wouldn?t get it anyway.

        P.S. I?m not an American so is it ok if I tune in?
  • I ehard a part of this when I was very young and hadn't read the books and had no idea what was going on. But now i shall certainly lsiten and quote along from memory. This is sweet.

  • by Pretender R*S ( 8816 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @01:00PM (#2749476) Homepage
    ZBS and American/Canadian Radio drama company also resells the LotR CDs in the US. So you can watch it anytime you want and at $70 for 13 CDs is a pretty decent deal. en =PROD&Store_Code=ZF&Product_Code=LORD&Category_Cod e=KFCD

    They also have the Hobbit and their orignal productions of Jack Flanders and Ruby the Galatic Gumshoe.
  • Ogg Vorbis streams (Score:5, Informative)

    by AirLace ( 86148 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @01:01PM (#2749479)
    For those Free Software enthusiasts of you out there who don't want to install RealPlayer, the BBC is trialling [] Ogg Vorbis [] live audio streams. The BBC Radio 4 stream can be found here [].
    If you use this service, please take the time [mailto] to tell them that you appreciate their support of open standards as the service is still tentative.
  • It's good, buy it (Score:3, Informative)

    by nivelo9 ( 409455 ) <squirrelman AT onebox DOT com> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @01:03PM (#2749482) Homepage
    My dad just picked it up through a mail order catalog, and it's really well done.
    If you want to buy it, there are two versions on Amazon:
    this is the more expensive (US$56) "library edition" [] which i suspect is no different from this US$49 version [].

    download now.
  • I burned these to CD's for my long drives between home and school I used to take. Very entertaining. They can be found online pretty easily, and burn nicely to CD's.

    Takes a long time to go through 13 CD's worth of story.
  • by Gumshoe ( 191490 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @01:09PM (#2749498) Journal
    I bought the box set of the LotR radio play many years ago and
    have enjoyed it many times. One of the landmark radio
    dramatisations featuring a superb cast: Ian Holm as Frodo (who
    played Bilbo in the Jackson movie); Sir Michael Horden as
    Gandalf; John LeMesseurier as Bilbo; and Robert Stephens as
    Aragorn. It also features Peter Woodthorpe as Gollum, who
    incidentally also played that character in the animated movie.

    A matter of opinion of course, but I consider it a superior
    adaptation than the recent film. While Jackson's effort is very,
    very good, it (through necessity) betrays the book in many ways
    resulting in a superficial version of the story. The BBC
    dramatisation on the other hand, leaves the subtleties of the
    story intact, resulting in a more rounded experience. The only
    ommission of note is the absence, as usual, of Tom Bombadil.

    If you have never heard a radio play, do yourself a favour and
    have a listen to this.
    • >The BBC
      >dramatisation on the other hand, leaves the subtleties of the
      >story intact, resulting in a more rounded experience. The only
      >ommission of note is the absence, as usual, of Tom Bombadil.

      Why as usual?

      • Because he wasn't in this Radio play, nor the
        live action movie, nor the animated movie.

        Poor old Tom. No one loves him :-)
      • Of course, a lot of other character, some far more interesting (in my opinion) that usually get cut as well: Gildor for one. The Wildmen. The two nasty orcs that Frodo and Sam eavesdrop on in Mordor. Fatty Bolger. And Bill Ferny getting clocked by an apple (though in the movie, Pippin gets clocked by one...) Bombadill is a fun diversion, but the Barrowights are far more important to the story arc and overall history, and they're always missing as well. Which means that no adaption can really make sense of Merry's deed towards the end of the book. We never find out where he gets his sword, or why its so powerful.
    • While Jackson's effort is very, very good, it (through necessity) betrays the book in many ways resulting in a superficial version of the story.

      With 9 hours to play with why does the movie have to betray the book as opposed to abridging it with care?

      I'm really getting tired of people saying what a great version the new movie is and then going on to say what a mess of the books it's made. What's going on (I haven't seen it yet)?


      • It is a great movie but no movie maker can possibly examine every
        nuance of the book. It hasn't "made a mess" of it, and betray is
        perhaps too harsh a word, but watching the movie and reading the
        book are two different experiences. Listening to the radio play
        offers another.

        If you can imagine the book as a three-dimensional object, the
        film takes a two-dimensional view of the story, the radio play a
        different two-dimensional view. However, IMO, the latter's
        interpretation captures the more important elements of the book.
        In other words, the experience offered by the written word is
        more similar to that of the radio play than of the film.

        This isn't meant as a critique of either work.
      • My main complaint is that scenes and conversations were added to the film that detracted from Tolkien's original material. I think the main problem with the movie is they decided to "show off" some of their CG graphics kung-fu, instead of staying closer to the book. Spoilers below, you've been warned:
        1. The whole Arwen-substituted-for-Glorfindel mess. If they wanted to show her in Rivendell and have the talk with Aragorn, that would have been fine (still more than is in the book). But they have her traipsing around, sneaking up on Aragorn and then riding against the Nine. Which leads to...
        2. Frodo stood off the Nine at the Ford by himself, not with the aid of any elf, in the book. Much more powerful in my opinion
        3. The cave troll in Moria. As someone else mentioned, it's an orc chieftain that stabs Frodo, not the cave troll. All we see of the cave troll in the book is an arm and a leg poking through the door. The rest of the encounter in Moria is different as explained by another poster (Gandalf doesn't try to hold the door, the ceiling of the chamber doesn't come down, they get surrounded by orcs that don't immediately kill them for some inexplicable reason, etc.). Also no dwarf bodies are found when they open the door to get into Moria. Gimli seemed like he would find Balin at home in Moria, I don't think he was that upbeat in the book.
        4. On their escape from the Shire to the Buckleberry ferry, a Black Rider is chasing Frodo as the other three get on the ferry. Damn slow horses they have in Mordor, you would think he could have run Frodo down pretty easily.
        5. Saruman's and Gandalf's Twister battle in Orthanc. Say what?
        6. The whole end of the movie deviated from the book. Boromir never returns to the rest of the Fellowship to tell them that he tried to get the ring from Frodo. Aragorn talks to Frodo and Frodo tells them he is going to Mordor by himself. Pippin and Merry see Frodo as he is leaving and one of them, I guess for the benefit of the slow people in the audience, says "he's leaving." When Sam gets back to their camp, he doesn't see the "empty" canoe leaving by itself, since Frodo is not wearing the Ring. After Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli find Boromir, they return to camp and see that Frodo and Sam have just reached the other side of the river. In fact, one of the things that I thought would annoy people is that part of the Two Towers is told in the first movie since we see Boromir die. However, I think this is probably a better spot to end the movie than the book. I just had to explain to my wife after the movie - "Oops, I guess I should have had you read more than just the first book!"
        7. At some point after Frodo was attacked at Weathertop, they were in the glen with the three trolls that were turned to stone in The Hobbit. I knew this scene would be in the movie based on a review somewhere and my wife noticed the trolls, but darned if I didn't. I don't know that a little dialogue here would have hurt so much, especially since Bilbo is telling the story to some hobbit children at his party.
        8. At one point in Moria, Frodo thinks they are being followed by Gollum. Gandalf says yea, and you even see Gollum. In the book, you get references that Gollum is about, but Frodo doesn't speak his fears until they are out of Lothlorien.
        9. At the Council of Elrond Gimli tries to destroy the Ring with his axe. Also, the Council seemed much more argumentative than the book. I think the film was trying to hint that the Ring was exerting its influence on the members there. Also Boromir's vision is not mentioned and there is not much background on Legolas or Gimli.

        I think that sums up my main annoyances with the movie. Overall, it was a really good film if you had never read the book. It just took some liberties with the story that I couldn't understand and added material that could have been cut in favor of a "better" storyline.
        • Let's have some perspective - points 1-8 are so minor, that if those are main complaints of a book-to-movie translation, then I think Peter Jackson has triumphed mightily. I mean come on, you're pissed that they omitted Glorfindel?

          That said, I agree that the council of Elrond could have been handled a little better. Explaining Boromir's vision would have both established him better as a character (his name isn't even mentioned until they're well out of Rivendell) as well has helped develop Aragorn's storyline.

          • I don't think point 2 is minor at all. After Frodo's various failures in front of the others (mainly the debacle at Bree and then putting the ring on at Weathertop) the ford is the first time he shows why Gandalf placed so much faith in him. Alone against the Nazgul, including the Witch-King, he defies them. This is a spectacularly important moment of character development/establishment not just for the reader but for the other characters (esp. Aragon) and I would suggest that putting in an extra character to "rescue" him is a sign of someone who has little interest in the structure of the book.

            The structure of LotR is very strong, even the language develops from the start to the end and all the Hobbits' characters change quite radically, and we do all like character development, don't we?


    • Tom Bombadil is the only character in the story that can be safely removed entirely without affecting the rest of the story. Two events which happen during the time we spend with Tom: Frodo tries the ring for the first time, and we encounter the barrow wights, where frodo is once again tempted AND the four hobbits obtain their swords. However, these are plot elements that can safely be removed without upsetting the story.

      The best part of the radio plays is they include a great many of the songs that are included in the books, along with characters expressing some real heartfelt emotions.


      Play with my webcams and turn on my lights at []
  • by Kevinv ( 21462 ) <kevin AT vanhaaren DOT net> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @01:16PM (#2749519) Homepage
    There's also a set of CD's from an American dramatization that isn't nearly as good.

    The BBC version is awesome.

    • I would have to disagree that American version is not as good. They are both very good, and have different qualities that for each are quite nice.

      1) The American (Mind's Eye Productions) does not omit the Bombadil sequence. The BBC version does. This is important to me because I really like Bombadil. The scenes with the Barrow Wights explain how they get their swords.

      2) The BBC version has English accents, which probably sounds more authentic.

      3) The BBC version "unravels" the story line to make it more linear. The American version relies more on "flashback" and story-telling, which follows the flow of the books.

      4) The BBC version does have Strider telling the story of (oh, I forget her name) the elf that gave up her immortality to live and die with the mortal man she loves - giving a nice foreshadowing of Strider and Arwyn's situation.

      5) Of course, the BBC version gives you another hour, which is cool.

      They are both excellent, and after listening to both of them several times (I'm a LOTR AND Book-on -tape junkie - don't ask how many times I've listened to Harry Potter on tape). I cannot say that one is better than the other.
  • Digital audio streaming is good, but why not record the analog broadcast and digitize it later?

    Anyway, I have this in MP3 already - it's over 400 megs - I'm not sure what bitrate it is, but the quality is pretty good.

    VBR would have been a better choice for speech though (this is fixed bitrate). So if BBC is testing OGG/Vorbis, it is a good thing.
  • Saturday 14.30 - 15.30 from 5 January 2002 GMT

    or... 6:30 AM PST... oh boy! now i won't even be able to sleep in an the weekends! :D
  • Beware! (Score:4, Funny)

    by John Harrison ( 223649 ) <johnharrison@gma ... m minus language> on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @02:04PM (#2749581) Homepage Journal
    I borrowed the 13-disc set from a friend. I ripped it to mp3 so I could listen to it without having to swap discs.

    So I sat down to work one day and fired up the mp3 player. Two hours later I realized that I had done NO WORK! I had simply sat there basking in the glory of this production.

    I usually listen to music when I work at home and don't find that distracting at all.

    Unfortunately I also found this Lord of the Rings things completely addicting. I found myself looking for excuses to listen to it. Luckily it is only 13 hours long.

    I think that I should have saved this for commuting and caused some accidents.

  • I was an avid listener when I was 14 (back in 1981), and will be again. Great that it's now being streamed to the world - imagine that, audio being streamed to a global computer network with hundreds of millions of people connected to it. We live in miraculous times.
  • by Restil ( 31903 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @02:21PM (#2749613) Homepage
    Between the two LOTR Movies and this radio adaption, the radio plays by far stick to the story line, almost to the letter. Obviously they have to abridge it somewhat, but the most important parts of the story are maintained in excellent detail.

    While not disappointed with the new movie, I was somewhat dismayed by their attempt to rush more important aspects of the story and drag out those parts that play little role. LOTR is, more than anything, about the growth of the characters. How these small, fat, lazy hobbits go on an adventure and when they return they run the evil out of their homeland. How a dirty rugged old ranger ends up becoming king, and how a dwarf and an elf, both with much inbred conflict with each other, manage to become lifelong friends.

    The cave troll did not take 3 minutes to dispatch in the book. It was an orc chieftan who skewered frodo, not a troll. Frantically, the party ran from that room, carrying Frodo (whom they believed to be dead) with them. Gandalf attempts to seal the door with a spell, only the Balrog fights him back with magic and almost destroys him. All this was missed. Instead they have to spend precious time on the character development of Arwen, who doesn't get more than 5 minutes in the books anyways.

    And at the end, we don't have the troublesome Aragorn. In the books, he was distraught because he didn't know what path to follow, and then everybody gets separated, Boromir dies, all the hobbits disappear, and the fate of frodo and sam is unknown. Aragorn is forced to make a decision on who they follow and choose to pursue Merry and Pippin.

    Galadriel warned against betrayal in the party. Yet there was no such warning. Oh, the book hinted about Boromir's desire for the ring, but up until the very minute he tried to steal it, Frodo only thought that Boromir wanted them to keep it safe at Minas Tirith, and not to walk it into the enemy's hand. However, the rest of the party did not desire it so, and none of the rest of them were a risk. This is shown most prominantly in the "Samwise the Strong" segue in the third novel when Sam is tempted by the power of the ring while he holds it for a while, and yet manages to overcome it with barely any thought on the matter.

    But anyways.. No need to overanalyze this. The radio plays are GOOD. Listen to them if you can.


    Play with my webcams and turn on my lights at" []
    • a little shocked (Score:4, Interesting)

      by plunge ( 27239 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @04:41PM (#2749930)
      I was a little shocked as to how the movie decided to spoil just about every element of uncertainty with a character simply outright SAYING something that was supposed to be discovered later on. The radio shows were far more adriot at keeping things suspenseful.


      -Gandalf simply TELLS Frodo that Biblo has gone to live with the elves: in the books this is a wonderful surprise to Frodo.
      -Gandalf learns of the Palantir early, for no reason, instead of discovering it at the end of The Two Towers
      -Galadriel simply tells (or pretty darn strongly implies) to everyone that Boromir will try to take the Ring
      -As mentioned, Aragorn feels no confusion as to what to do about Frodo.

      I felt that most of this simply drained excitement and mystery out of the plot for no puropse (in most cases WASTING time instead saving it, by requiring more exposition). Maybe they had some reason, but I can't see it yet. I also thought that for a movie short on time, spending whole minutes in slow-mo reaction shots was a bit silly (Frodo getting stabbed by the troll for like five minutes, Sam drowing in slow motion) as well as deadening the pace at crucial moments. Despite Peter Jackson being totally non-Hollywood, it was SOOOO Hollywood.

      The radio plays, of course, had no such temptation to cliche, which is interesting: are there really as many major radio-show cliches as there are movie cliches?
      • QUOTE:
        -Gandalf learns of the Palantir early, for no reason, instead of discovering it at the end of The Two Towers

        -Galadriel simply tells (or pretty darn strongly implies) to everyone that Boromir will try to take the Ring

        in TT (and later in ROTK,) Gandalf (when telling everyone about the palatir, esp merry and pippin, says he 'long suspected' that they were around. I saw this more as a good time to foreshadow the palantir's role in ROTK w/ Denethor -- when Gandalf and Saruman start talking about them in FOTR (movie) Gandalf plainly says "they're not all accounted for and can't be trusted"; this is more of a setup for Denethor's scene and Gandalf's expository there.

        Galadriel (in the movie,) only tells Frodo outright. The movie can't give that third-person-omniscient point of view ("Boromir thought...") that the book can without doing cheesy voice-overs, so by necessity, I think they felt they had to hammer the point home that Boromir was not to be trusted.

        The only things about the movie that i was annoyed by were the total omission of Bombadil (although, what else could Jackson have done?) and the complete fucking of Arwen and Aragorn's roles.

        I would have enjoyed more of the incidental dialogue (although they did a fantastic job with it) like Gandalf's "A Balrog! what cursed luck! and I am already tired..." and the whole Bill Ferny thing in Bree...

        The sound sucked (someone tell the music guy he's not the fucking star,) and Galadriel's voice during her test ("...set up an EVIL QUEEN!") was just too fucking stupid. But these are minor quibbles and the movie is GREAT.
        • Plenty of other scenes established Boromir's wavering, especially the ring in the snow. It wasn't something that needed to be revealed anyway: foreshadowing would have been fine: why simply tell the audience what's going to happen when they're going to find out anyway?
      • ...spending whole minutes in slow-mo reaction shots was a bit silly.

        I saw one review [] that said "I wish there were fewer scenes of Frodo staring into the camera like Jodie Foster in Nell (or Contact, or a half-dozen other movies where Foster seems to think that intense, wide-eyed staring is what the academy is looking for)"

        The thing that bothered me (and might be related to your complaint about long slow-mo reactions) was what I thought was an over-use of awe inspiring special effects - Not where it was appropriate like the battle scenes in Moria but in segues. Especially all that zooming about up and down the tower of orthanc and into the fantastical (and a little fake & hokey looking) caves and crevices beneath it. By over doing it by so much in such inconsequential scenes Jackson had no way other than just making it longer to make an impact during the really pivotal scenes. I wish he had used a lighter hand which would have not only improved the scenes affected by making them appropriately more subtle but also would have improved the scenes with all the FX that would be improved and given more impact by the contrast.

        But that is really my only complaint and it is mere nitpicking. Many of the things that bothered other people didn't bother me at all. It is a movie after all which is a very different storytelling media and many of the changes were necessary and good for the story in movie form. I don't mind dropping Tom Bombadil or Arwen replacing Glorfindel and moving the love story between Arwen and Aragorn out of the Appendix at the back of ROTK and into the main storyline.
  • I would also reccomend to anyone that they take a listen to the Moyers/Campbell series or read Campbell's book "Hero with a Thousand Faces". The Trilogy is one of the finest of the "quest" gendre that has been produced. It is interesting to disect it in the light of Campbell's exposition of the mythology of the quest. Everything is there: The quest, the companions, the wise old man, the great evil, etc. Aside from being just plain good reading, the Trilogy says many things about who we are and where we want to go in this creation.
    • Note also that Campbell was as nutty as a fruitcake when it comes to interpretation of myths and folk stories; the introduction to "Hero with a Thousand Faces" is still laugh-out-loud funny even though I've read it four or five times. In the rest of the book, however, the joke wears a bit thin and you really wonder how an adult could ever have written such transparent tripe in all seriousness.

      A real blast from the Victorian age of Freudian mumbo-jumbo "psychology".


      • by Anonymous Coward
        George Lucas is apparently a great believer is Campbell's analysis. It neatly explains The Phantom Menace.
  • I recommend buying them on CD. I have the 13 CD set, and I keep them ripped to rc2 ogg vorbis files on my laptop. Great stuff, and it only takes up 340MB. Vorbis is beyond leet.
  • Radio (Score:4, Informative)

    by Aztech ( 240868 ) on Tuesday December 25, 2001 @03:48PM (#2749803)
    If you want to listen over the net make sure you listen to the Ogg [] stream because it's higher quality than their Real streams, and Linux friendly.

    As a nice Christmas gesture the BBC cut the bitrates down across the board on their terrestrial Digital Radio (DAB []) service a couple of days ago, LoTR's will be on Radio 4 [] which is often found at 80kbps Mono MP2 now, instead of 192kbps stereo, the FM signal is now of superior quality.

    A note to all those people who are interested in buying a DAB tuner (all 3 of you!), don't bother, unless they resurrect the bitrates you might as well just get a decent FM tuner, the quality will be better. Another decent technology ruined.
  • in Czech, the word "lotr" means "rogue" and "fotr" means "dad".

    so the first movie should be called "bad dad"
  • Are you seriously suggesting we just tape the radio broadcast? How will the artists be compensated? How will we prevent further unauthorized copying? At least the RIAA will get a cut of the blank tapes, but this is most irresponsible.

    Don't tape the radio. You don't own anything you hear.
  • Last month I bought the whole BBC 13 CD set at Sam's for about $40.00 It is great. If you REALLY want a see if you can't come across the set.
  • ISBN 0-553-47228-3 (Score:2, Informative)

    by Mike_L ( 4266 )

    A few years ago my parents bought this audio series for me on cassette. It is excellent. I've listened to it a few times and it kept me awake on the long drive home for the holidays. I must say that this radio-series is a lot truer to Tolkien's books than the new movie. Also all voices have authentic British accents. =)

    Amazon has it for $41.96 qid%3D/103-3685064-5132664 []


  • Christmas Gift (Score:2, Informative)

    by GweeDo ( 127172 )
    I got this Radio Show set (13 CD's) for Christmas and must say it is very well done. If you can listen to it, I highly recommend it. It is interesting to see how it differeces from the movie at moments which differs from the book at times. Over all it is a very well done presentation and great for long road trips :)
  • by Anonymous Coward
    at [].

    They are doing something like 3 mp3 files a week.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    I remember as a kid (aprox. 1977) listening to the Hobbit on cassete tapes. It was a complete read of the Hobbit and was not abreviated/abridged in the slightest. Also, I believe, that it was just the voice of one person? but who dramatized all of the parts by changing his voice. DOES ANYBODY KNOW THE NAME OF THIS SET OF TAPES? I'd happily pay serious money for them. Also, did the same company hopefully also do the LOTR?


I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.