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Summary

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. 

The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too).

As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football.

This Audible Original multicast dramatisation is directed by the multiaward-winning Dirk Maggs, best known for his adaptations of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for the BBC.

Starring Tom Alexander, Samantha Béart, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Mark Benton, Stephen Briggs, Stephen Critchlow, Jon Culshaw, Phil Davis, Ray Fearon, Tony Gardner, Edward Harrison, David Holt, Mathew Horne, David Jason, Josie Lawrence, Toby Longworth, Harry Myers, Maggie Service, Andrew Spooner, Steven Webb, Keith Wickham and Jaime Winstone.

Listen to an exclusive interview with narrator David Jason here.
©2018 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

Behind the scenes with the cast of Unseen Academicals

We talked to the cast of Unseen Academicals
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What members say

Average customer ratings

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Made me go back to the book!

Well, I got up extra early yesterday to download this book as I was so looking forward to it. Sadly, Audible have treated this in the same way Peter Jackson treated The Hobbit (which also made me re-read the book). Lost are the charm, wit and humour of Sir Terry and in its place are a some elements of the book with one character taking on several characters actions from the book.

Please leave these stories alone, Audible! The reason I bought this 'adaptation' was that I enjoyed the book. I didn’t need to listen to a story loosely based on the book - and by loosely, I mean some of the characters had the same name.

That said, I thought the cast did a sterling job with the material they had. I only wish they had stuck to the book a bit more faithfully, as I found it very hard to enjoy anything about it, and spent the four and a half hours mostly shaking my head in despair..... the only good this to come of this is apthat at least I shall enjoy re-reading the book.

54 of 60 people found this review helpful

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STP fans beware

If you're a Sir Terry diehard I doubt youll enjoy this. The story has been changed a bit- sacrilege!- but worst of all some of the characters become almost unrecognisable- for instance Trev is a complete bully at the start.

However there are other issues- this is about 60% narration, and i think thats a fairly conservative estimate. Great as David Jason is, this makes it an odd hodge podge between a reading and play, and neither is entirely successful. The brilliant character actors therefore arent trusted to do their jobs, and it makes it feel quite clunky overall. One of only two titles ive ever returned.

45 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Avoid If you are a Discworld fan

Disgusted that this was marketed directly at Pratchett fans. Characters bent out of shape, story unrecognisable. It just grinds my gears so much I never got past Chapter 3.

26 of 31 people found this review helpful

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  • Em
  • United Kingdom
  • 03-07-18

A huge disappointment

Very disappointed. The basics of the story are there but the dialogue bears little resemblance to the wonderful original text. Parts of the story have been changed completely and make no sense. The acting is good but as a lifelong Sir Terry Pratchett fan, I feel that his work has been ruined by this adaptation.
I have been looking forward to this release and pre-ordered in anticipation. I feel very let down.

19 of 24 people found this review helpful

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a cracking adaptation - keeps the pace going!

this is a fantastic adaptation with great casting. they minimised the alterations and kept the heart. the only issue I had was with Angua's representation but she's only got a small part in the book and story.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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What a match!

Great dramatisation, very pacey and captures the atmosphere of the book. Broad appeal, any age.y

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Disgraceful!!!!

How can you use Terry Pratchett's name? This bore almost nothing of the original book! I looked forward to it but find myself very disappointed. Terry's loyal fans should be warned!

29 of 40 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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I wish I had not seen it

I’m was not impressed it’s nowhere near as good as the book save your money

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Comedy Gold but Maybe not Pratchett Purist Gold

The Discworld series is, of course, absolutely stellar and while Unseen Academicals might not have been among the very best of those books it was a decent entry in the series. Pratchett had a penchant for dressing real world issues up in his fantasy world and making fun of them. Here we get gangs, football violence and prejudice among others. He also apes the great bard himself in this one bringing us Romeo and Trev!

The cast, as you would expect from actors of their quality being directed by Dirk Maggs are wonderful. It's a superb quality production with Mathew Horne's Trevor Likely stealing the show.

As with all book adaptations though there is a distance between it and the book so maybe this won't appeal to all of those who love Practchett's work. And I can certainly understand that kind of reaction, lord help Mr Cruise if I catch up with him after what he did to Jack Reacher! However, so much of the book's humour is brought to life in this production that I massively enjoyed it.

If you haven't heard or read any of Pratchett's work before you have presumably been serving a life prison sentence or two and not allowed in the prison library so not wanting to upset you I'll just quietly suggest going to the start of the series to get the full Discworld effect.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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Entertaining

I quite enjoyed this adaptation of the book although the story is changed somewhat from the original. Well performed although the music got bit annoying after a while. Overall not bad I think Terry Pratchett would have been happy with the result.

8 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Van
  • 02-07-18

Abridged Dramatic Performance

Let there be no doubt, this is a dramatic performance of the book. This is my first time listening to a dramatic performance of a book I have read and love. I realize this is my personal opinion but I found nothing the dramatization offered that the original audiobook was lacking.

I was reminded of how I feel watching a bad movie adaptation of a great book, only intensified. This adaptation adds nothing to the original work and losses much of it.

The story is told better and is much more enjoyable in it's original audiobook format.
If you have never read Unseen Academicals you are doing yourself a great disservice settling with this version of the tale. If you have read the book I do not think you will gain anything by listening to this.

I may be missing the entire point and there may be many people who enjoy this circa 1930s radio production (in style only, the audio quality is top notch) I am not one of them. In my opinion you have nothing to lose and only a better and a much richer story to enjoy by listening to the audiobook.

I know there will be those who say that I am missing the point because this is a dramatic performance. My response is as a lover of this book and of Terry Pratchett's work, I found this way of telling his story vastly inferior to the audiobook.

40 of 47 people found this review helpful

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  • mran
  • 14-07-18

Unnecessary rewriting

I'm extremely familiar with the book, and the audio book. This is a different story. It's like they took the names, dialog, and events of Pratchett's book, and rearranged them, and slapped them over different characters, for no apparent reason. Like they just stripped down the damn book for parts. The worst part, for me, is Vetinari's story about the otter eating the salmon. In Pratchett's story, this is a major statement of the author's philosophy. It ends with the Patrician saying, "if there is a god, it is surely our duty to be his moral superior." But in this bastardization, the butchers have left out that line, and turned the meaning around so that Vetinari is urging his listeners to be just as ruthless as the otter. That's inexcusable license, and not something Terry would ever have said. If you just pretend it 's a totally different story, unrelated to Pratchett, it's enjoyable. The acting is pretty good. I'll probably listen to it again, because I like to get my money's worth.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 13-07-18

Well... that was odd.

I wasn't overly fond of Maggs reworking of Douglas Adams, but this is frankly unrecognisable as being (Sir) Terry Pratchett.

It's like Shakespeare reworked in the style of the Toxic Avenger. Without the laughs.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Janet
  • 16-07-18

Characters unrecognizable and plot points twisted

This is not at all like the novel. The best part is the game coverage, but it also is problematic. The ending is abrupt. I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, but this is not his book. It is well acted, with some famous talent, which is wasted on this twisted to breaking tale.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Marcel (MadJo)
  • 08-07-18

Made me angry

This audio dramatization lacks everything that makes the book witty.

The person who made the adaptation took a lot of freedom with the characters to the point that they are no longer recognizable.

Trevor spewing beer over Mister Nutt? (where was that in the original book?).

Old man Stollop calling his daughter a "bitch" and calling Glenda "blobby", what the everloving shit?! Never once would Sir Terry have resorted to such a low level insult for one of his characters. It's also the point where I gave up on this nonsense.

I don't know what this is an adaptation of, but it ain't Discworld.

On the plus side, the actors do a tremendous job with a very mediocre script. And David Jason as narrator works for me. Though at times the background music isn't exactly in the background.

If you're a fan of Discworld, get the actual (audio)book of Unseen Academicals. Which is a fun take on Romeo and Juliet wrapped in a football story, where you learn that it is possible to get out of the crab bucket and that where you grew up, doesn't have to define who you are, no matter if you grew up in Dimwell, Dolly Sisters or Uberwald chained to an anvil.
But stay away from this audio drama.

10 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • janine
  • 24-07-18

Don’t fix it if it ain’t broke

Rewriting the story into a reality tv show did not work for me. The story was changed, the characters which were the meat of the story diminished and Moaning Myrtle must have been the voice for Juliette

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Nokip
  • 06-08-18

abomination!

couldn't finish. kept comparing it to the real book and it made me depressed. also, they turned the protagonist from a rather nice guy into a total tit.

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  • barb rock
  • 03-08-18

Awesome

I loved it... I am not a sports fan but I really enjoyed the game...

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • David Eldridge
  • 30-07-18

abridged dramatization

I found this disappointing. First, because I didn't notice it wasn't the unabridged version. Secondly, because the story and langauge has been so dramatically altered as to lose the charm and the wordplay of the original author.

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  • Luke
  • 06-07-18

An enjoyable adaptation!

As an avid consumer of all works Terry Pratchett related, I thoroughly enjoyed this audio drama. It is important to note that this production is not trying to match the full exposition of the unabridged audiobook, which is an amazing narration by Stephen Briggs, (who incidentally voices Drumknott in this drama). I would encourage listeners to purchase this unabridged audio of UA first, as it tells the full tale as wrote by TP; this is a variant of the classic 'read the book before you see the movie' situation.

Having said all that I found this audio drama very engaging once I suspended my disbelief and stopped getting hung up on thoughts like 'but this doesn't match the canon!'. All in all I found it to be an excellent re-work of UA for a full cast format, and I'm really hoping for more discworld audio dramas like this in the future. Full cast Night Watch adaptation anyone?

1 of 2 people found this review helpful