Good Reading : April 2005
Full-cast dramatisations from BBC Audiobooks – one of the best ways to enjoy audio! To see the complete range of BBC Audiobooks visit your local ABC Shop, ABC Centre or selected bookstores. Or shop online at abcshop.com.au; phone order to 1300 360 111. ISBN: 0563494212 Proof BBC Radio 4 presents Dick Francis’ pacey thriller, starring Nigel Havers. 3 x CD – Dick Francis SRP: $35.00 The Little Sister Ed Bishop stars as Philip Marlowe in this atmospheric BBC Radio dramatisation. 2 x CD – Raymond Chandler SRP: $29.95 ISBN: 0563524022 The Sittaford Mystery John Moffatt and Stephen Tompkinson star in BBC Radio 4’s dramatisation of a classic Agatha Christie thriller. 2 x CD – Agatha Christie SRP: $29.95 ISBN: 0563525185 The Chronicles of Narnia – The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe This acclaimed production sweeps listeners into the magical heart of their imagination. 1xCD–C.S.Lewis SRP: $34.95 ISBN: 0563 477385 ISBN: 0563523662 The Complete Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Features both series of the BBC Radio 4 comedy drama, which spawned the phenomenal Hitchhiking legend. Both series also available on CD. 2 x MP3-CD – Douglas Adams SRP: $59.95 One of the reasons for this success is that people are spending more time travelling.Time spent in traffic can be less stressful if there’s an audiobook on the CD player, spinning a tale that can help pass the time. In the US, light listening is being created especially for truckers, who spend hours at a time on the road.The public library of one of the world’s most gridlocked cities – Los Angeles – can barely keep up with demand, even though they have 65,000 audiobooks on their shelves, with more being added all the time. As people become more pressed for time, they are turning on the sound while they do other things, like housework. The BBC is uniquely placed to take advantage of the trend. It’s not just their access to some of the world’s greatest actors, who understand that turning the written word into the spoken word is an art form of its own. It’s also that the BBC sits on a treasure trove of material which can all be turned into audiobooks.Where other audio- book companies have one or two actors reading a book, the BBC can issue audio- books which are based on the full-cast dram- atisations produced by Radio 4 or on archival material from both radio and television. ‘We’ve got the technology now that means we can tidy up and restore things,’ says Simon Palmer, the Senior Audio Editor. Palmer works in a studio with a full team, who are able to add inciden- tal music, or special effects, or digitally re-master per- formances to a standard that is better than the original. A voracious audience exists for these old recordings, because many of the programs were cult hits in their day and listeners remember them fondly. Not that the BBC restrict themselves to releasing old radio programs.They’ve also managed to turn much-loved television shows, like Dr Who, into audio recordings – even when the original shows have vanished from the archives. Michael Stevens, the Science Fiction and Fantasy Commissioning Editor, explains that in the old days, the BBC used to junk their recordings. It turns out, however, that there are other copies in the world. ‘In the 1960s, people would hook up reel-to-reel tape recorders to the television,’ says Stevens. Many of these fans belonged to fan clubs, and would swap their tapes with other fans across the world. In recent years, the BBC have launched worldwide appeals – ‘treasure hunts’ – and have recov- ered sound tracks for shows they thought were long gone.