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The Lord of the Rings: The “Lost” Screenplay of the BBC Tolkien Drama Discovered | The Lord of the Rings

Decades before Peter Jackson directs his grand adaptation Lord of the RingJRR Tolkien was involved in the first adaptation of his trilogy, but its importance was not realized in the 1950s and the BBC recordings are believed to have been destroyed.

Now, Oxford scholars have delved into the BBC archives, discovering the original scripts of two series of 12 radio episodes broadcast in 1955 and 1956, exciting fellow scholars.

Tolkien’s fantasy masterpiece was adapted by producer Terrence Tiller. There is no doubt that the graffiti markings on Terrence Tiller’s manuscript reflect detailed discussions with the author in correspondence and conferences. Rework of the scene.

Tolkien’s handwritten suggestions for modifying the BBC’s 1950s radio drama. Photo: BBC Written Archives Center / The Tolkien Estate Limited

Stuart Lee, a reader of the English Department at Oxford University, said: Lord of the Ring Made between him [Tolkein’s] At that time, the BBC didn’t attach much importance to it. This shows how the acceptance of books has changed. A small concern between 1955 and 1965 is now a global phenomenon, with Amazon reportedly investing more than $ 1 billion in its latest series. “

Lee’s discovery will be featured in the next new book, Great Tales Never End: An essay in memory of Christopher TolkienScholars pay tribute to Tolkien’s devoted son and executor’s scholarship, who died in 2020.

Published by Bodleian Library Publishing in June, the book is co-edited by Richard Ovenden, a librarian at Bodley at Oxford University, and Catherine McIlwaine, a Tolkien archivist at Bodleian Libraries.

“Fans are waiting for the Amazon Prime series based on the Second Age of Middle-earth, so here Tolkien himself Lord of the Ring“Makil Wayne said.

She added: “Not only did he agree to adapt his book shortly after publication, but he also worked with the scriptwriter to simplify the text and balance narration and conversation to meet radio requirements. It’s available for a limited time. It’s a very exciting and timely discovery. “

1967 JRR Tolkien, 6 years before his death
JRR Tolkien died in 1967, six years before his death. Photo: AP

The series aired shortly after Tolkien’s original was released in three parts. The first series is Fellowship of rings With 6 episodes, the second series was condensed Two towers When Return of the king Entering the next six episodes, the BBC boss disappointed Tolkien by shortening each from 45 minutes to 30 minutes.

Lee said: “70 years later, we treat it like a sacred text. These scripts show that in the 1950s there was no tendency for how important the text was.”

He insisted that: “If the book came out longer and was more established, the BBC’s senior management would probably have agreed to each episode, which lasted 45 minutes and spanned three series.”

Tolkien, who died in 1973, was instinctively wary of such adaptations, especially after watching a Walt Disney movie such as: Snow White and the Seven DwarfsBased on the darker 1812 Brothers Grimm fairy tale. In 1937 he wrote about his “heartfelt aversion” to Disney works. Lee expressed surprise that Tolkien’s sheet had been overlooked. Well discussed, Lee publishes it in his essay for the next book.

It withstands Tolkien’s rewrite of the scene where Frodo Baggins, the Hobbit who received the invisible magic ring, his fellow Sam, and the warrior Aragorn refer to evil anger, the undead being. ..

Frodo: What happened? Where is the pale king?

Sam: Mr. Frodo, we lost you. Where did you go

Frodo: Didn’t you see them? – Wraith, and the King?

Aragorn: No, only their shadows …

Tolkien explained Wraith to the narrator who linked the scene. “Soon the shape was terribly clear. He could see under the black cloak. He burned his relentless eyes with his white face …”

Lee said: “Without the freedom he was granted in the novel, he thought of the best way to convey Wraith’s explanation. At first, he was pretty clumsy and told Frodo Baggins,” I … I put on a ring. ., And I could see under their black cloak. Their faces turned white with cruel bright eyes … “But he refused this and favored the use of narrators instead. did.

The BBC file also stores the reaction of the audience in the 1950s. One listener complained that: Third program Meet Enid Blyton in a fairy tale. “

However ObserverCritics described the dramatization as “the most heard light in the next five weeks.”

Great Tales Never End: Essays in Memory of Christopher Tolkien will be published by Bodleian Library Publishing in June.

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