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Northern Lights (Dramatised)

Narrated by: Philip Pullman, Full Cast
Length: 2 hrs and 26 mins
Categories: Children, Ages 8-10
4.5 out of 5 stars (215 ratings)

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Summary

A Radio 4 Book Club Selection.

The award-winning His Dark Materials trilogy is a breathtaking epic adventure spanning a multitude of worlds. Northern Lights, the opening installment, sees Lyra and her shape-changing daemon embark on a dangerous quest.

In Oxford, Lyra learns that children are being kidnapped by the mysterious Gobblers. When her friend Roger vanishes she determines to find him, and is given a powerful alethiometer which can reveal the truth in all things. After discovering that the adults around her are not what they seem, Lyra and Pantalaimon join forces with a band of gyptians. Travelling north they encounter witch-queens and armoured bears, before being captured and taken to Bolvanger, where children are being used in terrible and secret experiments.

Gripping, full of suspense and often funny, this BBC Radio 4 dramatisation has an all-star cast including Terence Stamp, Emma Fielding, Bill Paterson, Kenneth Cranham, and Ray Fearon.

Click here to see all the titles in our Radio & TV Book Clubs collection.
©2003 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2003 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Brilliant book, shoddy dramatisation

I bought this audio CD knowing the nature of a dramatisation would mean certain changes from the book, what I was not expecting was the sheer extent to which the narrative was fiddled about with.
Things hapen too fast - all three of the major captured children from the books are now captured from the same place on the same day with no previous mentions to 'the Gobblers' at all - and exposition is handled poorly.
Introduced and 'narrated' by a character who does not appear in the books until near the end of the second. The scriptwriter seems to have made the assumption that his audience are idiots; introducing it with 'this is a parallel world. Deamons are souls' that completely lacks the subtlety of Pullman's work which never understimates its readers intelligence.
In the first scene (and again in Mrs. Coulters party) the dramatisation, instead of dropping hints, spells out exactly what the Gobblers are doing in the North, robbing the ultimate reveal of all shock and making you question Lyra's intellegence in not already having pieced it together.

The book is wonderful. This radio adaptation, however, doesn't do it justice. It cuts and dumbs down more than the film did.
If you want a dramatisation you'd be better off buying the full cast version narrated by Philip Pullman himself.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Paul
  • LondonUnited Kingdom
  • 07-11-07

Edge of the seat audio

I have to disagree with Fabio. Myself and my children loved listening to it in the car. All the actors really brought the story to life.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Fabio
  • United Kingdom
  • 28-09-05

Full cast, not full story

After listening to brilliant books like Stanek's The Kingdoms and the Elves, I was disappointed to say the least. Dramatised can be bloody good but this isn't the full story. If it were the full story, I'd have given 5 stars.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Stunning dramatisation

So, before I purchased this, I saw some negative reviews saying that the story was cut very short and the details were not fine enough or true to the original book, and honestly, I would hath to disagree. Okay, it is obvious looking at the two products that the book is significantly longer than the dramatisation, but having read the book and listen to this, I would go so far as to say that in my opinion, all of the details that really count when listening to the story are still here. That, along with an absolutely stunning dramatisation from the BBC, which I can honestly say, is the highest quality of dramatisation I have ever heard from them. Taking both of these points into account, I would say this is definitely worth the money. It just blew me away. The actors were absolutely brilliant. Okay, this is an adaptation, so things are going to be a bit different from the book, and they are. In the book, the angel narrating the story is introduced in the second book, but they have chosen to include it here, and I noticed one name change in this production, but it doesn't detract from the brilliance of the production at all. However, I would recommend that you read the book 1st, as there is a lot you might miss, but if you have read the book, this is brilliant to listen to and will really fire up your imagination. I especially loved the actor who played Lyra. So give yourself a treat and download this, you will not regret it. You're welcome.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

love it<br />

Loved to never wanted it to end cast was fantastic I can't explain how good it was

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Better for kids than grown-ups

I read this as a child and was captured by Lyra's world - so similar to our own, yet so fantastic.

It's still a marvel, and I didn't mind my time with it, but I'd forgotten just how much of a children's book it is. The whole world revolves around Lyra, and everything she tries seems to work out. In some ways it's the kind of story a child might tell - "I went here, and there were mean people doing evil things, but I said this and they believed me"

I'm glad to have revisited it, but it's not quite what I remembered from all those years ago.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Janet
  • Brighton, East Sussex
  • 27-05-19

Breathtaking story telling.

An unique and full envisioned story told very well. Entirely captivating. Would highly recommend it.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Still classic many years later

Enjoyed every second of the performances - Terence stamp was outstanding. Best use of the licence fee I've ever spent

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good for recap but not new readers

A lot left out but a useful recap before The Book of Dust is published.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Cecily

I recommend this book for all ages, its gripping, funny, and generally amazing. The plot is certainly intriguing, and once you start reading you just can't stop.

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Myk
  • 11-03-13

Hard to work out what's happening

The action jumps from place to place with little linking. I really had very little clue where anything went or why anyone was doing anything. Great performance, terrible scripting. Guess I'll have to get the actual book to find out what the deal is. I know this series is very popular. Maybe the writers assumed everyone listening would have read the books already?

Don't bother with this if you don't know the story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful