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Author Topic: Watership Down radio drama  (Read 1649 times)

Offline Leo-rah

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« Reply #15 on: November 06, 2016, 04:54:00 PM »
Whoa, thanks a lot for your effort, Pushmipullu! Definitely worth re-hearing it! ^__^ Really appreciating it!
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Offline Vesper

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« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2016, 03:24:19 AM »
:silverweed3 Thanks for this my dear friend for I also plan to listen to this soon when time permits. Ciao.
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Offline Owsalfa

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« Reply #17 on: November 07, 2016, 06:47:10 PM »
I recorded it too and it's really good! Can't wait to hear the next part. The gender swap of some of the characters was actually pretty cool.
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Offline pushmipullu

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« Reply #18 on: November 07, 2016, 08:52:51 PM »
I loved it :) And yeah, I really liked the gender swaps, especially Keehar. It's nice to hear a different spin on the character than we're used to, but it dosen't distract from the story at all, in my opinion.

Offline Chibiscuit

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« Reply #19 on: November 08, 2016, 05:14:02 PM »
Thanks for the download Pushmipullu! It's much appreciated! :)
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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #20 on: November 08, 2016, 09:46:12 PM »
All right, I listened to it!  Thank you for the recording, pushmipullu.

Overall it was a good adaptation, follows the book very well, although with a few minor problems.  The background music fits very well, and the voices are good.

Here is a probably overly-detailed review, that contains MASSIVE SPOILERS.  BEWARE.



The narrator is the same person who will voice Hyzenthlay in the next episode.  Unless it's actually Hyzenthlay narrating, which would be pretty neat.  This could be possible, since she makes several references to “our people” and “our kind” when talking about rabbits in general.  Either way, she's doing a good job providing the narration, mentioning many things about rabbits that couldn't very well be said by any of the characters.

Anyway, it starts with an El-ahrairah story.  It's the same old blessing story, although this time it's pretty much limited to “All the world will be your enemy” etc.  However, why does Frith have to say "Be shrewd and full of tricks?" The original line was good, why change it?

The main story starts with a vision of the destruction of Sandleford, although it takes a while before you see it's just a vision.  It's well done.  The next morning, Fiver tells Hazel more about his nightmare, and mentions the Black Emissary...who's that?  Also, nearly every single time he gets mentioned it sounds like “Black Emissar”.

Then, he notices the notice board, it wasn't there yesterday.  You get the field covered with blood line, that's nice.

Soon afterwards, they go see the Threarah.  Unfortunately, I'm disappointed by his voice, but it's hard to beat Ralph Richardson who did it in the film.  The other voices are all rather good, though, I especially like Bigwig's.

Soon afterwards, Hazel and Fiver assemble a group that will leave the warren.  Bigwig volunteers immediately, and Hazel says how it's good to have him but it will be difficult.  Nice to see small parts of the book like this being preserved.

In the end, the rabbits leaving Sandleford are Hazel, Fiver, Bigwig, Blackberry, Dandelion, Silver, Hawkbit and Acorn.  They are all bucks.  Hawkbit and Acorn hardly get any spoken lines, and Hazel shared a burrow with Dandelion instead of Hawkbit last winter.  Holly arrives to arrest them, but Bigwig fights him and everyone gets away.  It's kinda disappointing not to have Pipkin, but it's not that bad...

Then, we get the river scene.  Since Pipkin doesn't exist, Fiver is the only one who can't swim.  The whole scene is very close to what it is in the film, and is full of funny sound effects.  The only major difference is that Dandelion helps Bigwig push the boat instead of Silver.

Then there is a short scene in which the crow attacks.  The sound effects are good, but the scene is over very fast.

Then they come across a road.  Bigwig demonstrates how it is not dangerous, just like in the book. It's nice to see that the correct plural of hrududu (hrududil) gets used.  If I remember correctly, the plural wasn't heard in the film and the series used the incorrect “hrududus”.

A few more short scenes take place, before the rabbits finally meet Cowslip...who is now a doe.  Of all the rabbits they could have flipped Cowslip is perhaps the weirdest one.  Also it's been around 20 minutes since it started.

This is followed by Hyzenthlay providing a very creepy description of the warren.  Soon afterwards, we meet Strawberry (buck) and Nildro-hain.  Both Strawberry and Nildro-hain describe what life is like in the warren; I like the fact that Nildro-hain gets spoken lines, she didn't have any in the original book.  They explain many things, including the fact that Cowslip is not the Chief, nor is anyone else, but notably absent is the “where” thing.  Another change is that it was Kingcup who made the shape, not Laburnum.  Either way, Kingcup has mysteriously vanished, just like in the book.

Soon afterwards, someone suggests telling the story of El-ahrairah and the King's Lettuce, but Cowslip refuses, saying they don't tell those stories here.  So let's jump straight to Silverweed.

Silverweed's poem is the last paragraph of the version in the book.  Unfortunately, I don't like his voice, it's too deep.  Fiver runs away, with Hazel following him despite the rain.  It's funny to see Hazel coax Bigwig into saying the rain doesn't bother them.  Once everyone is outside, Fiver talks about how the warren is terrible and how they should have nothing to do with it.

Then, Fiver has a nightmare, similar to that Hazel has in the book.  It is very well-done, with one exception: Bigwig says "ask me where" despite the fact we didn't get to deal with the whole "where" ordeal yet.  Either way, Fiver asks where and Bigwig says he's off to join the Black Emissary.  Who IS that?

This is followed soon afterwards by the snare scene, which is overall handled very well.  Once everyone thinks Bigwig is dead, Fiver says the Black Emissary is coming and you get creepy music...Then we get the “My Heart has Joined the Thousand” line, I really like it.  Then Bigwig isn't dead.

Then Strawberry arrives, and here is another minor difference: in the book Bigwig tells Silver to kill him, but here it's Blackberry.

Strawberry explains that Nildro-hain went to look for Kingcup and died in the process.  Hazel lets him join, and Hyzenthlay talks about the bird that finds the broken snare.  I'm really glad that line made it in.

Without any further adventures, the rabbits reach the Down approximately 35 minutes after we started.

Holly's arrival (without Bluebell, unfortunately) happens soon afterwards.  Unfortunately, this scene was done rather badly, I think.  Someone simply says he found Holly wandering around shaking.  You lose the whole drama of Bigwig thinking it's the Black Emissary thingy, that was present in the book and all other adaptations.  Also he didn't pass by Cowslip's warren.

However, Holly's description of Sandleford's destruction is well-done, and the background music makes it even better.

A while later, Bigwig and another rabbit are discussing Strawberry's digging plan when suddenly...KEHAAR!!!  Kehaar's voice is unusual; I had some trouble figuring out whether the character was still male or whether a gender-flip had been made.  I only knew for sure when Hazel said that "she needs a place to stay".  But guess what?  The fact that Kehaar is now female has absolutely no importance to the plot whatsoever.  It's a good way to weave in more female characters without upsetting the storyline.  Hopefully Strawberry's gender-flip will be handled in a similar way in the miniseries.

Also, the way Bigwig becomes friends with Kehaar is funny.

After four days, and some more digging led by Strawberry, Kehaar comes back, and talks about Efrafa and Nuthanger farm, although neither are referred by name in this episode.  She is very funny.

This is followed by a discussion as to who should go to that big town of rabbits.  Fiver suggest Holly, who chooses to bring Silver and Strawberry with him.

After Holly leaves, Hyzenthlay describes how Hazel is feeling mischievous and decides to raid the farm.  He takes Blackberry and Dandelion with him.  The music during that scene is very appropriate and funny.

Hyzenthlay talks about how Frith warned El-ahrairah that his tricks would catch up with him and the world would be rid of that rascal.  This sounds a lot like what Prince Rainbow told him in the story of the King's Lettuce.

Once they reach the farm, you hear...sheep.  Hmmm.
The hutch rabbits are named Clover, Boxwood, Laurel and Cornflower.  Clover and Boxwood are does, but at least one of the others is a buck.  Boxwood has a weird accent.  Poor Haystack, at least she gets to appear in the miniseries...who's Cornflower though?

It's interesting how Hazel and the others decide to let the hutch rabbits escape during the first trip to the farm, just like in the series but unlike the book and film.  I don't really mind.

Once the hutch is open, the scene is done almost exactly like in the book, and the feeling of chaos as the farmers arrive and recapture Laurel, is well-done, especially with the dramatic music.  Hyzenthlay then talks about how rabbits throw their lives away between two jokes and a theft, and that foolishness comes from the Black Emissary, a line reused from the story of El-ahrairah and the Black Rabbit of Inlé from the book.

Hazel gets shot and Fiver has a conversation with the Black Emissary.  This scene is great...and that's it for now.  We then get the credits and it's over.

Best quotes:
Bigwig: "Oh nice surprise Hazel, our brook's become a river."

Hazel: "What mist? It's a perfectly clear night!"

Bigwig: "If they give us trouble, they'll find I can give plenty back."

Fiver: "That's not a poem.  It's the truth."

Bigwig: "I'm done with your crap-brained brother."

Hazel: "You don't have to say any more."
Holly: "Yes...I do.  Fiver was right."
Fiver: "Oh Holly.  Believe me I've no wish to be right."
Holly: "You were right to leave the warren."




Overall a great adaptation.  I'll be looking forward to the second (and last) episode, which will air on 13 November at 3 PM.  Hopefully someone will record it too.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0829dcv
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Offline Owsalfa

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« Reply #21 on: November 12, 2016, 07:34:00 PM »
I recorded the first part for my blog, so I'll recording the second part too. I can share the link afterwards if you want ^^
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Offline pushmipullu

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« Reply #22 on: November 13, 2016, 03:59:48 AM »
I'll record too, just for the heck of it, lol.

Offline pushmipullu

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« Reply #23 on: November 13, 2016, 05:01:50 PM »

Offline Leo-rah

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« Reply #24 on: November 13, 2016, 08:26:06 PM »
The 2nd part was so great, in my opinion. It only has been two parts, but I must admit, I fell in love with all their voices, and the way the story was told. Also the switched genders were a neat idea in my opinion.
I must admit, I even shed a tear in the very end of the play. ._. Sad, but also happy, there was finally something new from Watership Down, and even so well done! Luckily, there will be even more soon, regarding to the mini series.
It was definitely an enjoyable event!

Also, thanks so much for recording, I'm pretty sure, I wasn't listening to it only this time. :3
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Offline Vesper

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« Reply #25 on: November 14, 2016, 02:47:37 AM »
Dang, I do wish to hear the Radio Drama soon when time permits for by what I am reading here, it sounds spectacular to be part of, hope I don't miss it.^^
[big][big][small]"Yet, even amidst the Hatred and Carnage, Life is still worth living. It is possible for Wonderful Encounters and Beautiful things to exist."[/small][/big][/big]- Hayou Miyazaki

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Offline Chipster-roo

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« Reply #26 on: November 18, 2016, 02:53:58 AM »
I listened to the second episode a few days ago and typed out a rough draft of the review then forgot about it.  I edited it and here it is.  As previously, beware of MASSIVE SPOILERS.



It all starts with a flashback of the previous episode's ending, Hazel getting shot.

Then Dandelion wakes up Bigwig, who complains about how Hazel threw his life away for nothing.  Dandelion says that at least they got two does.  I wonder which of the three is the buck...Cornflower I guess?  Bigwig says the does may not be useful but Clover says that they are doing their best to adapt to this new life.

Suddenly, Kehaar shows up and announces that Holly and the others are back.  Holly's description of Efrafa is very detailed, and part of it involves his conversation with Hyzenthlay, during which she talks about, among other things, how she went to see the council to start a new colony, but Woundwort refused.  This is also a good scene, although her name is mispronounced, again.  Hopefully the miniseries will get it right.

Then, Holly and the others get to see the council.  Blackavar makes a brief appearance with someone telling him he's lucky to still be alive.

A fascinating thing with the scene with the council is how close it is to the book.  The dialogue is almost exactly the same.
Woundwort: You seem to think you're here to argue with us, and drive a bargain.
Holly: We had thought that we were your guests.
Woundwort: We are the ones to say what you are.
Strawberry: General, animals don't behave like men.  If they have to fight, they fight; if they have to kill, they kill.  But they never set their wits to devise ways of spoiling other creatures' lives.  They have dignity and animality.
Woundwort; And your name is?
Strawberry: Strawberry...sir.
Woundwort: I shall remember you, Strawberry.
The addition of Woundwort's threat at the end improves the scene.

Holly and the others escape by playing a trick on an unnamed captain.  They face the railroad tracks and Strawberry says to cross them.  Then Lord Frith's messenger arrives.  The whole scene is done very well, the only problem is that the train isn't noisy enough.

With that subplot out of the way, let's go back to Hazel and Fiver.  You get the dream scene from the book with Fiver talking to the farmer, and in this case the Black Emissary serves as an interpreter.  The farmer has a strong accent but is still understandable.

Another nice quote:
Fiver: No!  What hole?  Where?
Farmer: No 'o yur busness ya little runt.

Soon afterwards, Fiver persuades Blackberry to go to the farm with him.  Really, they are following the book very closely.  The sound effects and the music are appropriate.  Then Kehaar shows up and removes the black stones.  You even get the conversation between Hazel and Fiver as to whether or not they really are here, and about how there is another world where they go when they sleep and when they die.  It's really nice to see this preserved.

And then, back at the warren, Hazel talks about how they will go to Efrafa to get some rabbits out of there.  It's interesting how this is the first time anyone refers to Nuthanger Farm as such, before it was just “the farm”.  Once again, the scene is almost the same way it is in the book.  The only major difference is that we don't get to see Bluebell talk about Bigwig disguising himself as a hrududu, because Bluebell doesn't exist.  In the end, Holly, Strawberry and the hutch rabbits stay behind.  The others leave about 20 minutes through the episode.

The trip to Efrafa is handled very fast, but I don't mind, as this allows more time for the more exciting parts of the plot.  You almost immediately get to the river, where Blackberry finds the boat, Kehaar explains what it is, and Bigwig leaves for Efrafa.

We then get the first appearance of Campion, who announces to Woundwort that a rabbits wants to join Efrafa.  Bigwig refers to himself as “Thlayli” which feels slightly awkward considering nobody explained exactly what “Thlayli” means before.  You also get a funny passage where Bigwig tries to fight Campion.

Then, Bigwig gets a tour of the warren.  Most of the dialogue is very close to that in the book, the only major difference is that it's Campion who explains everything instead of Chervil and Avens.  Campion also questions Blackavar, and explains about Nelthilta and Hyzenthlay.  He then tells the rules about mating.

Nelthilta's appearance is very brief, just a short sarcastic remark about the officers.

Then, Bigwig sends for Hyzenthlay.  He explains everything about the escape, and once again, the whole thing is extremely close to the scene in the book.  Pretty much the only difference is that Hyzenthlay doesn't name the Efrafan officers killed on the iron road pursuing Holly and the others.

It's great to see that Hyzenthlay's vision was preserved in this adaptation.  I hope the miniseries does the same thing.

The vision is handled very well, especially with the background music.
"Beyond that, nightfall, confusion, fear, men men all things of men, a rope snapping like a dry branch, a rabbit riding a hrududu...sigh I've become foolish, tales for babies in the summer evening, I can't see as I used to, nothing more than shapes of trees beyond a field of rain."

You then get a brief scene where Kehaar at the river tells Hazel that Bigwig will be ready to escape tomorrow evening.  Everyone is relieved to hear this.  The female Kehaar is a good change, overall.

However, Woundwort shows up and prevents Bigwig from escaping, just like in the book.  It's rather weird how Woundwort talks about how a patrol saw him with a group of strangers.  The fox encounter didn't happen here, but they still recognized him.  I think this was done better in the book.

Either way, since Nelthilta talks too much, Hyzenthlay is really worried.  But the next morning Bigwig manages to get another message to Kehaar about how they escape the next evening for sure.

However, Nelthilta gets arrested so Bigwig is forced to put the plan in action earlier than expected.  He sends someone to get Blackavar, then says that they were brought there for nothing because silflay has been cancelled.  While the (unnamed) officer is outside commenting about how it's stormy but probably not enough to cancel silflay, Bigwig tells Blackavar to help him fight.  The scene is done well.

The scene where they actually run away, is great.  The music, and the sound effects help contribute to the atmosphere of confusion.

Once everything is finished and everyone is on the boat, Bigwig and Hyzenthlay have a short and funny conversation about how nobody knows what is going on.  Then Kehaar leaves, but don't worry, she'll be back next winter.

Thankfully, the events of my least favourite chapter of the book, The Bridges, are skipped, and the rabbits arrive at the Down after Hyzenthlay-narrator explains about how for some it's an arrival and for others it's a return.  It's very well-said.  Nobody died during the trip back, and Blackavar will never be seen again (I don't mind).  Also Clover is having a litter.

“Is the adventure finally at an end?” Hyzenthlay-narrator asks.  “But we forget that there is always a last bitter frost before the coming of spring.”

Sure enough, Woundwort attacks.  It's good to see that Hazel goes to see Woundwort to discuss terms with him.  It's especially nice even the paragraph where Woundwort actually contemplates the possibility of peace, is preserved.

One thing I have noticed is that Woundwort says that unless all deserters surrender, he will tear out everyone's throat.  That's what was said in the movie.  In the book, however, he said he would tear out the throat of “every buck in the place”.  I think I'm overanalyzing.

After Fiver's vision (which I feel wasn't handled very well), you finally get to the dog run.  Dandelion and Blackberry are the ones who run, just like in the book, and Bigwig digs himself under the floor to surprise Woundwort.

The scene at Nuthanger farm is very well-done.  Hazel gnaws the rope and the dog chases Dandelion.  Meanwhile, Hazel gets attacked by the cat, who simply sounds like a cat and doesn't actually say anything.  I don't mind.

The battle scene is done rather well.  The sound effects are appropriate, and Hyzenthlay-narrator gives a generic description of it without going into all the gory details.  In the end, Woundwort tells Vervain to finish off Bigwig.  It took a while before Vervain got any spoken lines, but now that he does I like his voice.  The scene is just like in the book, except for the part with Fiver defeating Vervain without striking a single blow.  That gets cut, unfortunately.  You do, however, get the part where Bigwig says his Chief told him to defend this run and until he says otherwise he's staying, with Vervain panicking at this, and I like this.  Finally, Woundwort faces the dog, and the famous line “Dogs aren't dangerous” gets used.

One part of the book I didn't like was chapter 48, the one from the humans' point of view.  Thankfully, it gets cut here.  Instead, you just have Hazel telling Bigwig how he was saved from the cat by a young human and brought back to the Down by a hrududu, just like Hyzenthlay had predicted.  I'm really glad that part of the plot was preserved.

Now that the main story is over, we get the epilogue.  “For each the saga has its own ending.” Life in Efrafa under Campion gets better.  I like how Campion gets some character development without being blown out of proportion.

And then, we finally get the confirmation that yes, that was Hyzenthlay narrating the whole time.  Hazel says he feels like he's heard the story before but doesn't know whether it's about him or some other rabbit hero.  He has a brief conversation with Fiver about the other world that they talked about after the Nuthanger Farm raid, then he leaves.  Fiver and Hyzenthlay then have a short conversation.  The feeling that comes through this whole scene is that everyone knows Hazel is going to die soon, including Hazel himself.  That's very sad.

Sure enough, the next scene is Hazel's death.  It's very close to that in the book, except that it's not El-ahrairah who comes for him.  Based on the description, it's probably the Black Emissary, but other than that it's the exact same thing, and Hazel gets to join the owsla.  And finally, you get perhaps the best lines of the whole production:
Black Emissary: Time to embark on a new odyssey.
Hazel: But I stopped running just a moment ago.
Black Emissary: No.  The running is just beginning.  Well?  Are you ready?
Hazel: Yes.
Black Emissary: Come on then!  Let's run!
(echoing) let's run...
Hyzenthlay: They reach the top of the bank, each with a single powerful leap, and together, they slip away running easily through the wood, where the first primroses are beginning to bloom.



Overall, this was a very good adaptation of Watership Down.  I can't really compare it to any other adaptation: radio, cinema and television are completely different mediums.  I can, however, say that it was better than I expected.

The adaptation followed the book very well, and while some minor subplots and characters are removed, it's not a big problem.  I liked most of the voices, especially Bigwig and Kehaar.  The only two that I found disappointing were Cowslip and the Threarah.  Overall, Brian Sibley did a good job.
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Offline MeadowRabbit

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« Reply #27 on: November 23, 2016, 06:05:57 PM »
I saw this mentioned in a TV magazine, then missed it! Now I remember that I might still be able to catch it online, or from one of the kind links posted here. :) How long is it? Don't know if I have the time/attention span to listen to it all in one day whilst I'm not in work. I'll give it a go. :D
« Last Edit: November 23, 2016, 06:11:39 PM by MeadowRabbit »
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Offline Leo-rah

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Watership Down radio drama
« Reply #28 on: November 23, 2016, 06:09:25 PM »
It has just been two parts, each 1 hour, so absolutely hearable! :) I listened to it live, but I will definitely again, when I'm about to go to the bed. Just the perfect time, to dream into the world of WSD! ^_^
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I love that buck.
 I love him more than weasels love blood and meat.

Offline MeadowRabbit

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Watership Down radio drama
« Reply #29 on: November 23, 2016, 06:15:23 PM »
1 hour each! I can do that. I'll see if I can listen tomorrow. :)
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