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BBC Dramatisation Collectables

23 Sep, 2023 (edited)
2023-9-23 6:46:59 AM UTC

So I thought I would do a thread of collectable items for the wonderful BBC Lord of the Rings Dramatisation, in my opinion the best adaptation of Tolkien ever done. Admittedly there is not a huge number of items, and a lot of them are tapes and CDs, however there are some other interesting items as well. I will post items I have in my collection and other people can post anything extra they have.

First up we have the original UK cassette release. These are basically 13 gold cassettes of the series, in a box with a gold map. I believe there are 3 slightly different versions of this, there is the basic version with the 3 parts, one version came with an outer cover, and another version was a Limited Edition Century version (limited to 10000, which is quite a lot) which did not have the cover but had a limited edition label with the edition number and an extra centenary booklet “The recording of the Rings” by Brian Sibley (the writer of the series).

The artwork used for the cover, box and map is by the artist Eric Fraser (who also did artwork for other items which we will see later).

Here are images of versions 1 and 3 (2 is not shown as it has nothing different).

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23 Sep, 2023
2023-9-23 7:02:22 AM UTC
I have been trying for a while to find out about the silver cassettes that I have, and the silver booklet.

Does anyone know about these?

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23 Sep, 2023
2023-9-23 8:01:05 AM UTC
Interesting already. The set with the cover I’ve never seen before and it would be nice to know what came first and where from. The reason I say this is because I remember listening to the first hour long shows on the radio and at some point in that run, they started to advertise about being able to buy them if you sent in your details with a cheque for £19.99 + p&p. I did this and then had to wait for release at the end of the current broadcast run. So I know I was in that set of first releases on cassette but certainly didn’t get a cover. Of course I could have been a later subscriber which means I’d potentially miss out on the cover. I’m wondering if the cover was a shop only release anyway, rather than an order online release? I’ll follow this thread with interest.
23 Sep, 2023
2023-9-23 8:04:31 AM UTC
I’ve seen the silver box before Trotter, and had always presumed it was just the second or at least a later release? Gold first, silver second, that type of thing?
23 Sep, 2023 (edited)
2023-9-23 8:18:37 AM UTC
Now looking more closely at Andy’s and Trotters pictures, I see something. The episode 8 cassette originally was mislabelled as The Voice of Sauron, and not Saruman as it should have been. Surely the earlier sets were the incorrect ones? That means Andy’s set with the cover came later and also means Trotters silver box was before his gold one too?

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23 Sep, 2023
2023-9-23 10:28:54 AM UTC
Very interesting, I have seen the silver version before, but wasn’t sure if it was a real version. I’m really not sure of the production order, but the cassette 8 Sauron/Saruman is a good observation and you could be right that the error Sauron version is the earlier. I have amended the original post a bit.
24 Sep, 2023
2023-9-24 7:12:36 AM UTC
Next is a Radio Time BBC weekly TV and Radio magazine from 7-13 March 1981 featuring the broadcast of the first episode of the series. The series is featured on the cover of the magazine with the iconic poster image by artist Eric Fraser.

There is an article by Brian Sibley on his blog about the magazine

The magazine also had the episode day/time schedule in this issue and each of the following 25 issues (the series was originally broadcast in 26 half hour episodes), with each episode having a specific image by Eric Fraser.

More details on these (and on Eric Fraser in general) can be found in my blog article about his Tolkien work

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25 Sep, 2023
2023-9-25 10:33:40 AM UTC
Next is the first US cassette release of the series. This also has 13 cassettes, with a map. However it features an image “Departure at Grey Havens” by the Hildebrandt brothers artists on both the box cover and each cassette. It is published by Bantam Doubleday Dell (BDD). I am not aware of any variations of this version, and all examples I have seen have cassette 8 as “The Voice of Sauron”.

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26 Sep, 2023
2023-9-26 2:03:52 PM UTC
Next is a tape of the Soundtrack of the series. The music was written by composer Stephen Oliver. The cover of the case is the iconic image by Eric Fraser.

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27 Sep, 2023
2023-9-27 5:21:32 PM UTC
Next is another UK boxed set on cassette. This has 6 cases with 2 cassettes in each case, with an episode on each cassette, the final cassette has the music from the series. The set also comes with a fold out map. I believe this set was released in 2000.

The artwork for the box and case covers is very stylised and is by artist Mark Hudson. When all the cases are laid in a line it makes a full image covering the whole story with a continues ‘road’ going through it.

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