War of the Worlds

BBC production 2017

Adaption Melissa Murray

Director Marc Beeby

Actors: Blake Ritson



This is the third BBC radio version of the Science Fiction classic although the 1950 production has been destroyed like so many of the corporation’s early dramas.

Of course the one that still resonates down the years is the Orson Wells American airing in 1938 that scared the pants of listeners thinking it was a real-life Martian invasion.

What was particularly interesting for me is that I was reading David Lodge’s fictionalised account of HG Wells life while this was being aired. Quite a contrast. While his books are full of clean-cut leading characters the man himself was a salacious sexual predator.

It’s amusing in a way, he was a small tubby man with unremarkable looks but clearly wealth and position were as much a magnet to some ladies then as they are today.

Wells’ first marriage to Isobel was a letdown for him – his voracious lust was not matched by his wife who lay back and thought of England rather than enjoying the physical side of their relationship.

Robert, our hero in this story, seems to have a somewhat sterile relationship with his wife Margaret. When the pair meet up at the end after both thinking the other had perished at the tentacles of the Alien invaders, it was an oh-so-English how-do-you-do and shall-we-have –a-cup-of-tea.

The production is strong on soundscape as you would expect from the BBC with eerie mechanical clanking denoting the presence of the Martians. Sticks pretty faithfully to the book.




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