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Summary

Four BBC radio dramatisations starring Michael Hordern as Tolkien - plus a special archive compilation exploring Tolkien's life and work.

The tales in this collection all reflect an aspect of what Tolkien himself called 'the perilous realm of Faerie'. Adapted for radio by Brian Sibley, co-writer of the acclaimed BBC radio production of The Lord of the Rings, they are rich in myth, magic and adventure. Among the supporting cast are Brian Blessed, Nigel Planer, Sorcha Cusack, Paul Copley and James Grout.

In 'Farmer Giles of Ham', having accidentally shot a giant, Farmer Giles' brave reputation is tested by Chrysophylax the dragon. In 'Smith of Wootton Major', a young boy eats a piece of cake containing a silver star, and is granted access to the magical land of Fäerie. 'Leaf by Niggle' is a thought-provoking allegory of the creative process, and 'The Adventures of Tom Bombadil' features Tom and the Hobbits in scenes from The Lord of the Rings which were not included in the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation.

Also included is 'J R R Tolkien: An Audio Portrait', in which Brian Sibley draws together interviews from radio and television programmes featuring the author himself, his original publisher Rayner Unwin, his biographer Humphrey Carpenter and many others, to relate the story of both Tolkien the man and the worlds he created.

©2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd (P)2017 BBC Worldwide Ltd

What listeners say about Tales from the Perilous Realm

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

A book of three parts

A book of three parts; the first three stories remind me of 1980s Jackanory, but with multiple voices - stories for children.

Farmer Giles of Ham, (55 minutes)
Smith of Wootton Major, (33 minutes)
Leaf by Niggle, (34 minutes)

The fourth chapter is taken from Lord of the Rings, a scene which wasn’t included in either the BBC Radio 4 dramatisation or Peter Jackson’s films. It is okay, but can understand why it was omitted as doesn’t really add anything to the LOR story.

The Adventures of Bombadil, (54 minutes)

And lastly my favorite part, a documentary about JRR Tolkien.

JRR Tolkien: An Audio Portrait, (1hr, 50minutes)

18 people found this helpful

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Worth buying for Tolkien completists

I didn't really enjoy the very dated dramatisations of Tolkien's minor works, but in any case I bought this BBC-produced audiobook for the final two chapters. These comprise a turn-of-the-century radio documentary written and presented by Brian Sibley, whom most will recognise as one of the adaptors of the BBC radio drama version of LoTR. It's interesting, and irritating, to listen to the pre-Jackson conventional literary establishment perspective on Tolkien's fiction. Prof John Carey is especially infuriating in his assessment, that I'm sure he thought was even-handed, referring to the aspects of LoTR that, in his eyes, make it a book for children rather than adults. It's a familiar opinion, and a superficial one, concentrating as it does on the most superficial aspects of the book. Anyone who has read Prof Verlyn Flieger's superlative critical works on Tolkien's fiction, as well as Prof Tom Shippey's books of course, will recognise just how mistaken this kind of analysis really is. It's a great pity that Flieger was not interviewed here, though her work on the Silmarillion and LoTR was very well-known by this time. Shippey gets a couple of brief slots, but isn't given the chance really to expand on his defence. Leaving all that aside, it was good to hear short interview clips from some of Tolkien's colleagues and friends, whom I've only ever read about, e.g. his secretary, Joy Hill, who was appointed by Allen & Unwin in the 1960s to handle his fan mail. Best of all were the interview clips with Tolkien himself, most of which date from the 60s. Turn up the volume and concentrate hard!

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Awsome

Its story with the hobbits, Tom Bombadil and the interviews after, all worth it.

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Not quite what I expected but nice nonetheless

It feels like a mishmash. At first you will listen to the two tales which themselves don’t amaze me. Then you will hear the start of the story of Lord of the Rings. Which felt like it cut short. Then you get some haphazardly assembled comments about the author, which is nice but not what I expected.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-09-18

an interesting little book. If you are a Tolkien

Tolkien fans will enjoy this little book. Give it a chance, and take an unexpected journey.

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Patrick
  • 15-06-19

Terrible narrative

Sorry, but these voices are terribly annoying. Made it 20 minutes in and gave up. Disservice to Tolkien

1 person found this helpful

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  • Jonathan Burns
  • 09-11-20

No original cast for ‘The Adventures of Tom Bombadill’

Was disappointed that the Brian Sibley dramatization of the Adventures of Tom Bombadill, did not have the original cast from his Lord of the Rings audio adaptation, but that’s my only real complaint, there’s still plenty here for a Tolkien lover to enjoy.

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  • David M. Wallace
  • 26-04-20

Good?

Tales from the Perilous Realm is a good book, but this dramatization doesn’t really do it justice. My chief complaint is the voice of Garm. Every “R” is turned into an “Rrruff”. Bottom line———————————————- If you want to listen to this story collection, don’t waste your money/credits; get the full one narrated by Sir Derek Jacobi. That one is worth it.

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  • Maggie
  • 27-02-20

I love Tolkien !

The stories were imaginative and performed really well! The portrait of Tolkien was so interesting and I loved the author's view of his stories and himself. This book also makes me want to read The Hobbit and The Lord of The Rings again! And, maybe, try the Sylmarilian again! I enjoyed this so much!

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  • Jeremiah
  • 17-01-20

Cool LOTR extras, but not all stories

I am a pretty big nerd, so this was nerdy enough for me, but I wouldn't start here for any newer fan.

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  • Yas
  • 16-04-19

The Lord Of the Middle Earth

The BBC adaptations of J R R Tolkien's classic The Lord Of the Ring is simply brilliant. Middle Earth came alive as did the tale of the man himself.

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  • Tempting Reviews
  • 08-03-19

Needs work

Narrator has a strange warbling effect. It's not the recording because all other voices are fine and clear.