Sunday 23 May 2021

FORTY YEARS ON... Eric Fraser's LORD OF THE RINGS radio art: Week 12


In 'Treebeard of Fangorn', Episode 12 of the BBC's radio dramatisation of The Lord of the Rings, first broadcast forty years ago this Sunday lunchtime, Merry and Pippin find themselves in the forbidding Forest of Fangorn and encounter Treebeard – stiff-limbed and with bark-like skin and leafy hair – the oldest of the Ents left in Middle-earth and depicted here in the original art for Eric Fraser's original art for the illustration published in the weekly listing's magazine, Radio Times.


In the series, Treebeard was played by Stephen Thorne, a towering, deep-voiced actor with whom I had worked on many occasions – his having previously been the voice of Jesus in some early plays I wrote for Schools Radio and had spoken for Aslan the Lion in my dramatisations of C S Lewis' 'The Chronicles of Narnia' –– which is more or less the same role as playing Jesus! As Treebeard, Stephen performed at the microphone draped in yards of gash recording tape so that he permanently 'rustled' in simulation of the Ent's great leaf-hung arms!

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