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Summary

A brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of HG Wells' famous story of the brutal Martian invasion of Earth.

When strange explosions are observed on the surface of Mars, excitement spreads among the scientific community. Surrey astronomer Ogilvy invites his friend Robert to the observatory to witness the turbulence on the red planet.

Ten days later, Ogilvy discovers a strange projectile on Horsell Common – with something inside. Robert rushes to view the craft, and is present when Martians emerge and turn their heat rays on the locals, who are waving white flags. It is the beginning of a merciless invasion....

As Robert flees in search of safety, accompanied by a young curate, young soldier Billy experiences the chaos happening in London. As the Martians take control, transforming the landscape and decimating the population, is this the end for the human race? Wells' terrifying science fiction tale, first published in 1898, is both a reflection of Victorian fears of a coming apocalypse and a critique of British imperialism. This enthralling dramatisation asks how humankind would fare if colonised by a vastly superior technological invader.

It stars Blake Ritson as Robert, with Samuel James as Billy and Carl Prekopp as the Curate.

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

What listeners say about The War of the Worlds

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A slow descent into madness

So much better than that film with the same name starring Tom Cruise.

Set in England during the Victorian era.

Another great BBC audio drama adaptation. Superb.

6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

No one would have believed...

That this audiophile could be so good. I will admit, I was expecting it to be a word for word read through of the original source material, but was utterly pleased at the great performance that was presented.

The sound effects went well with the story, and the pace was perfect. I would definitely recommend this for anyone who wants a different take on the classic story.

2 people found this helpful

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Skip this version

I was extremely disappointed with this 2017 dramatized version of War of the Worlds which is one of my favourite sci-fi audios . It seems like a cheap production lacking good sound effects and therefore was not even thrilling to listen to . Plus I got slightly confused with the characters . And this version was rather short time wise. The last dramatised version 2007 by the BBC was vastly superior in sound effects and atmosphere and character build up and is still available on audible .

4 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Same story, different perspective.

I didn’t like this at all when I first listened to it.

It was a departure from the characters I thought I knew, regardless of how they have been portrayed in various dramas, tv shows etc.

Our main protagonist (Robert) is not a character you want to like or are made to like. He is a troubled, insecure, weak individual. A petty man set in his ways.

Immediately this throws you, as regardless of what you have read, heard, seen before, our main character has always been someone you want to see survive. You want to see them get through it and make it through to the other side.

So this is what made it difficult for me to instantly like this version. And that change in character doesn’t end there, it applies more or less to all the characters in the story.

However, I came to realise that after a while, I was compelled to listen to this audio drama again. And after listening again, and then again, and then again however many more times I realised that the thing that made me want to listen was exactly the thing that put me off this version in the first place.

Yes the characters feel different, yes it makes you feel like it’s not the story you thought you knew. But for me, I believe it’s the most honest, true to life version you will find. This version focuses more on the human element of this situation. And as we are all very well aware, us humans are not perfect. Far from it. We all have our quirks, our problems, our own ways of being. We all have our opinions, our own ways of communicating, reacting, and doing things. We are all different. But none of us are perfect.

This version really focuses in on that. Robert is far from a perfect man. That for me makes it interesting as he tries to negotiate his way through this unexpected turmoil having to interact and be with other imperfect human beings.

For me, it’s the most true to life version of survival in this war of the worlds then any others I have listened to.

For a point of comparison, I very much enjoy the BBC 1960s audio drama (awful sound score, but charming in a strange way) again the story is adapted but the acting is fantastic and for me, if you can envisage every scene with crystal clarity in your head, then it’s doing it’s job perfectly. However, our main characters in this are good, honest people just trying to survive. Not really delving to deeply into the complexities of the human mind and how that alters in the event of a disaster.

Another favourite is Jeff Wayne’s Musical Audio Drama with Michael Sheen. This is a real treat, especially if you’re a fan of the musical. Again the characters are good, you want to see them survive and though it touches on various human behaviours in such an event, I don’t think it delves as deeply as this version does.

This version is darker, you never get a sense of relief, even at the end. Perhaps I’m making it sound better then it really is.
But I think ultimately for me, it’s become a version I learned to like, simply because it gets you to look at the same story you all know and treasure and really think about how you would survive this terrible event in a world where nobody is perfect.

4/5 for me. A don’t forget to give it another try after you decide you don’t like it on first listen.

1 person found this helpful

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One of the worst versions I've listened to!

A mess of a story that seems to be trying to show all the men in the story as cowardly, thugs who are looking for someone to blame for their decent in to madness and that all the women are the strong willed leaders who can solve all the problems.

The Martians are reduced to a side story and don't really impact the story at all. In fact the story is so short (only two episodes) that the whole section of the narrator (in this version a pathetic selfish stuck up writer) and the Curate being trapped under the falling cylinder is cut out completely and replaced with them hiding in London.

This is not a good version of such a classic story. I much prefer the BBC version set in the 1950 by Jon Manchip White and featuring Paul Daneman, Peter Sallis and Martin Jarvis. It's a much more atmospheric and truly terrifying version that just tells Wells story in a modern setting and it's on Audible as is the 2007 BBC version that I've been told to try as it actually sets up the characters properly unlike this version where I could quite happily of had them wiped out by the heat Ray.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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a great modern day effort on a classic

I must admit I was sceptical but delightfully surprised. enjoyed very much, and very well acted

1 person found this helpful

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Just boring. More psychology than sci fi

I've listened to a great many audio adaptations of HG Wells sci fi classic, but this was decidingly lacking in many ways.
I found this one boring and difficult to follow as it focused purely on the madness experienced by the protagonist and not much else.
it skipped over major points about the Martians, no real description or in depth detail that provokes the disturbing fear of the other-worldly antagonists in the original story. this focused more on the characters which were two dimensional at best. the narrative jumped around a lot which was hard to follow and I tuned out at times.
Also, it was far too short to cover the real essence of the book. save your credits and get the Jeff Wayne's dramatised version, which knocks spots of this one.

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enjoyable with a great cast

an excellent cast but felt it lacked the threat and and terror I have felt from other adaption.

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At last, a post post-modern take on War of the Worlds.

If anything this rendition of the idea is even bleaker than the original and the Edwardian setting is done with a sense of period that is believable. Far superior to the self conscious 'steam punk' anniversary offerings from the likes of Stephen Baxter. Wells maybe forever consigned to historic era of science fiction but his work was never fatuous or cute in its sharp observations of the human condition.

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  • Han Moreno
  • 13-05-17

Brilliant and well done.

Outstanding work and cast from "The War of the Worlds." Had the classic version of this but this version does a good job. Love the drama and the sound the effect that it had.

1 person found this helpful