The Golden Compass
- BBC Radio 4: 2003 -
Availability: Now that the series has aired, BBC Radio has released it on CD and cassette. It can be found at their online store (which is limited to deliveries within the European Union) or a multitude of other fine retail establishments. If you're unable to procure it, we would humbly suggest either haunting eBay or getting chummy with someone (living within the UK) willing to purchase the series for you.
Lavinia Murray : Writer
General Reaction: The radio dramas have had mixed reviews from the His Dark Materials fan community. Some loved it, while some thought that it was inferior to the audio book version, which Pullman himself narrated. Many felt that Lyra's voice actor, Lulu Popplewell, sounded "too young" (though one could, in turn, be desperately thankful that they brought in an age-appropriate actress instead of having an adult mimic a squeaky voice for Lyra). The changes to the original text of the series excited much comment, especially regarding the role of Balthamos (who suddenly becomes the narrator of the story as a "recording angel") and the naming of Mrs. Coulter's daemon (as Ozymandias).
The quantity of shrill complaints is understandable, given how near and dear His Dark Materials is to the hearts of many people. Despite that, many found room for appreciation and optimism. As Nick Powell put it: "No matter the (occasional) 'school nativity play' acting quality, no matter the cheesy additional dialogue, no matter the nitpicking any HDM fan could fill pages with over the dramatisation...The BBC, a large public body (comparable to a Hollywood movie studio), deserves gratitude, respect and congratulations for unashamedly broadcasting a virtually unedited Amber Spyglass, complete with intact ending..."
"I'm delighted that His Dark Materials is being done on the radio. I've always loved radio drama – it can move from the epic to the intimate in a moment. The sweep of the whole thing seems to have been very well maintained; and the cast is great, especially the two leads, Lulu and Daniel. The makers have used all the resources of my favourite medium to create a vivid and atmospheric production."
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