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Summary

Spine-tingling stories by M. R. James, plus a chilling original drama and two bonus programmes about his life and work.

M. R. James was the master of the uncanny. His classic supernatural stories have haunted readers and listeners for over a century and been adapted countless times for radio, TV and film.

This collection features dramatisations of 12 of his most popular stories – The Mezzotint, Casting the Runes, The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral, A Warning to the Curious, Rats, Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad, The Tractate Middoth, Lost Hearts, The Rose Garden, Number 13, Martin’s Close and Count Magnus. Among the star-studded casts are Mark Gatiss, Derek Jacobi, James D’Arcy, Anton Lesser, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Donald Wolfit.

Also included are a trio of readings by Benjamin Whitrow: Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook, A School Story and The Haunted Dolls’ House.

Neil Brand’s disturbing drama The Haunting of M. R. James, starring Mark Gatiss and Fenella Woolgar, sees horrific events from James’s own stories echoed in reality.

The life of M. R. James is discussed by Muriel Gray and Christopher Frayling in an episode of biography series Great Lives, presented by Humphrey Carpenter. Finally, in a fascinating documentary – The Ghosts of M.R. James – Michell Raper examines the author’s life and work, with readings from several of his stories.

Running Order:

The Mezzotint

Casting the Runes

The Stalls of Barchester Cathedral

A Warning to the Curious

Rats

Oh, Whistle, and I’ll Come To You, My Lad

The Tractate Middoth

Lost Hearts

The Rose Garden

Number 13

Canon Alberic's Scrapbook

A School Story

The Haunted Doll's House

Martin's Close

Count Magnus

The Haunting of M. R. James

Great Lives: M. R. James

The Ghosts of M. R. James  

©2019 M. R. James (P)2019 Penguin Audio

What listeners say about The M. R. James BBC Radio Collection

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Not one of the BBC’s finest hours

Overall, this was quite disappointing. Some of the adaptations weren’t bad, most were just awful and the readings were abridged. Sure, they do that to fit the time but what’s wrong with making the time fit the performance? What else did they have going on that was so important that they had to abridge a short story? My advice is don’t waste your time. There are better renditions of M.R. James’s work out there.

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disappointing

very disappointing . completely flat. bring on Micheal horden. a waste of money . dont bother

9 people found this helpful

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Excellent performances but...

The performances are excellent. However, as a fan of MR James, I feel far too much of the original story has been cut out of each one. What’s left is good, but much, much too short.

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Wonderful

I am very familiar with all of James’ work and I think this collection is perfect for someone like me, as these are not straight readings of the stories. I would really recommend reading or listening to the full undramatised and unabridged books and only then treating yourself to this. The last recording is a kind of documentary which gives away a few of the plots entirely so please be aware of that!

4 people found this helpful

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Superlative

Scholarly, intelligent and gets to the heart of MR James with excellent dramatizations and documentaries.

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Excellent dramatisations

Dramatisation were very good, though these are edited versions of the original stories. Martins Close was a particular favourite.
The 2 documentaries were also interesting

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Brilliant version. Great cast. Masterfully acted.

Definitely one of the best versions of these tales I've heard. A very happy purchase.

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Misleading Title

The stories being narrated aren't the ones that MR James wrote, they're highly abridged adaptations.

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FANTASTIC ADAPTATIONS of WONDERFUL MR M.R.JAMES

Yes these are abridged but are still excellent performances and very enjoyable. I have had this collection for years and listen regularly as I Love his work, it is so unique. Just wish there were more as I can not get enough. M.R.James has great unique style. Please Audible.uk , let us have more of Mr James work.

1 person found this helpful

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Brilliant adaptations of classic tales of terror

The Spine Chillers (with Derek Jacobi) and The Haunting of M R James (with Mark Gatiss) sections are perfectly swift chilling adaptations of classic James tales. The classic 'Oh Whistle and I'll Come to You My Lad' is a particular highlight. Some of the later stories that are just abridged readings are a little hit and miss in their execution, but the set is saved by an eerie adaptation of 'Martin's Close'. Definitely recommend.

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  • Admiralu
  • 14-03-20

Disappointing Package, Should’ve Been Longer

I was looking forward to this release. It includes 12 of James’ stories dramatized, 3 read a new original audio drama and two examinations of his work. It turned out to be disappointing. The 12 stories were far too short. Only partially dramatized and heavily narrated, they are too short to make an impact. You are better off finding readings of the stories in their entirety. The 3 readings are better, the original audio drama is excellent. The two explorations are good. For me, the best adaptation is the Conception of Terror which updated his stories for the modern age and were dramatized in their entirety. The cast and production are excellent.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Ekaterina
  • 19-07-20

Pleasantly refreshing

The theatrical aspect is fresh and serves to boost imagination, albeit appearing a bit distracting at times. The stories are classic and don't really need introduction. I would still prefer the more traditional approach to this vigorous acting out, though. But this was new and entertaining just the same.

2 people found this helpful

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  • GoryDetails
  • 22-06-21

Entertaining mix of dramatizations and interviews

While I prefer my M. R. James unabridged, I did enjoy most of the dramatizations in this collection - even when they departed from the stories. My favorites were the ones closest to the originals, and the voice-actors all did an excellent job. I liked the bonus material very much - "The Haunting of M. R. James", an original story suggesting that James' stories were inspired by real-life horrors, was quite entertaining, and I also appreciated the interviews/discussions about James and his work.

1 person found this helpful