The Wombles on BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4 has released a series of six episodes of a new audio adaptation of The Wombles. Narrated by Richard E Grant, the Wombles of Wimbledon Common return just in time for Christmas!

Many fans will remember with much fondness the TV adaptation, which turns 50 this year; The FilmFair animated series consisted of 60 4-minute episodes over two series, which originally ran between 1973 and 1975. All characters were voiced by Bernard Cribbins, who brought Elizabeth Beresford’s characters to life in his unique way. to many generations, Cribbins’ vocal characterisations are the spirit of the Wombles.

This new adaptation, which sees Grant take on all the characters, maintains the relaxed charm of the original but with a fresh take. His tone during narration is friendly and clear. The voices of Great Uncle Bulgaria, Tobermory and Orinoco have a rougher edge to them which differs from Cribbins but that isn’t negative. The actor doesn’t imitate, he tries to put his stamp on it. 

The episodes begin and end with the familiar instrumental music, but neither outstays their welcome. Directed by Johnny Vegas, the audio soundscape is nicely minimal. Sound effects are present but mostly nothing too outlandish. The focus remains on the story, which is nicely paced at 13 minutes; Part audiobook with a little extra enhancement. The episodes zoomed by quickly, and my son and I couldn’t wait to listen to the next one.

The children of Beresford had a hand in this production, and it shows. Hearing there will be a new adaptation may strike fear that rash changes will be made, but there isn’t too much to worry about here. The spirit of the Wombles remains intact, with the author’s stories being the star of the show. Grant does a nice job of verbally bringing those stories to life, and a whole new generation gets to discover them. Highly recommended. Stream six episodes of The Wombles on BBC Sounds. The first episode will be broadcast on BBC Radio 4 on Christmas eve.

Jamie Dyer

Jamie Dyer is an experienced writer, broadcaster, musician and social media marketer. He enjoys Old Time Radio, vintage TV, collecting vinyl and supporting the New York Knicks.

Leave a Reply

Next Post

Jon Pertwee - Worzel's Song (1980)

Mon Dec 11 , 2023
It’s fair to say I’ve fallen in love with Worzel Gummidge. I’ve always wanted to love the lovable scarecrow, but the dusty prints were a turn-off for me. It heightened […]

You May Like