Tuesday 9 August 2016

Listening to BBC Radio 4, Archive on 4, Tolkien the Lost Recordings

Tolkien:  the Lost Recordings was broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Saturday August 6 2016, and is still available on the BBC web site...

The Producers are Anna Scott-Brown and Adam Fowler.  It is an Overtone production for BBC Radio 4.

Well, yes, I now feel that, as far as this project is concerned, my work is done.

Nunc dimittis - cue image of Oxford towers, and plaintive music. 

And on to the next rescue.

I thought that the programme worked very well, and that the decision to pitch it to the Tolkien scholars and the Tolkien enthusiasts was the right one.  So, for me, the calming discoveries were the contributions of Dimitra Fimi and Tom Shippey.  With that, and Stuart Lee's forthcoming article, we can now say that Leslie Megahey's 1968 film 'Tolkien in Oxford' has its appropriate place in Tolkien Studies.

The technical solutions to the presentation problems were fun - like the Joss Ackland character, the bemused and only slightly interested interlocutor.  It was like something from Louis MacNeice, and the glory days of radio 'features'.  Well done, Adam and Anna of Overtone...  Very brave...

But, of course, we have simply created or postponed yet further need to delve in archives.  So, yes, Leslie Megahey's 1968 film 'Tolkien in Oxford' now has its appropriate place in Tolkien Studies.  But do we now need a study of the place of that 1968 film 'Tolkien in Oxford' in Megahey Studies?

Somewhere in the Overtone archives, there is a bit where Patrick O'Sullivan outlines, so succinctly and elegantly, the cinematic techniques of Leslie Megahey - as discovered in 'Tolkien in Oxford' - and their development in the subsequent career.

But, as Tolkien said - or was it Marx? - we make history, but not in circumstances of our choosing...

Patrick O'Sullivan
August 2016