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Les Miserables (1976)

 
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Carbonel



Joined: 06 Dec 2008
Posts: 6
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun May 30, 2010 8:48 pm    Post subject: Les Miserables (1976) Reply with quote

Does anyone else here also remember this classic BBC drama serial?
It must have been one of the most comprehensive radio productions ever undertaken by Radio 4 as it ran for sixteen (one hour) episodes and was thus able to do full justice to Victor Hugo's massive novel.

I remember listening avidly to every episode but, being a student in those days, had unfortunately no means of recording any of them. My personal radio set had no FM reception and so I had to rely on the good old Long Wave band frequency.

The BBC has informed me that the production does not survive in their sound archive, so this magnificent drama serial would appear to have been lost.

The Curator of the sound archives at the British Library very kindly provided the following information for me:


The series aired on Radio 4 between 2 May and 15 Aug 1976. I’m afraid it is not held by the British Library. However, I am told that at least some episodes survive in private collections.

Radio Times provided the following information for the first episode:

9.03 New Series

Les Misérables
By VICTOR HUGO

Adapted for radio in 16 parts by BARRY CAMPBELL, CONSTANCE COX and VAL GIELGUD

with
Robert Hardy as Victor Hugo
Trevor Martin as Jean Valjean

A classic story of the fight between good and evil and one man’s attempt to overcome his past.

1. Jean Valjean
adapted by CONSTANCE COX

The Bishop of Digne, GEORGE HOWE
Madame Magloire, ANNE JAMESON
Baptistine, GRIZELDA HERVEY
Landlord of the Cross of Colbas, CLIFFORD NORGATE
Tavern Keeper, GARARD GREEN
Husband, MICHAEL SHANNON
Wife, EVA HADDON
Valjean’s sister, NORMA RONALD
Mayor, GODFREY KENTON
Curé, DAVID GRAHAM
Clerk, WALTER HALL

Serial edited by BARRY CAMPBELL. This episode produced and directed by BETTY DAVIES
(Repeated Tues 3.5 pm)


If anyone can provide information regarding this lost classic then please let me know.

Sincerely,

Carbonel.
_________________
Il n'y a pas de morts.

Maurice Maeterlinck (1862-1949)

L'Oiseau Bleu (1909) V. ii
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Fabian



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Wed Apr 18, 2012 12:16 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I remember this extremely well and have a few moments somewhere on old audio cassette tapes I recorded from the radio at the time. I know it went out on Sunday nights rather than Saturday in what was then the classic serial slot. As it went out through most of the summer holidays (I was at school at the time) I tried to catch both the Sunday night broadcast and the Tuesday night repeat as I enjoyed it so much.

I recall that Judy Bennett (Shula from The Archers) was in it, playing one of the children's roles (Gavroche??) that she seemed to specialise in.

Given the amount of work that must have gone into a production of that scale it seems astonishing if it is not in a BBC vault somewhere. Only 5 years later a similar scale of project was undertaken by Radio 4 with "Lord of the Rings", which the BBC has since repeated and made commercially available on cassette and CD. So come on BBC, have another look in the cellar!
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Director_General
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Joined: 26 May 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Bradwell on Sea, Essex

PostPosted: Fri Apr 20, 2012 6:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The BBC seem to lose do much.

If they were a football team they would be forever relegated
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Fabian



Joined: 18 Apr 2012
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sat May 05, 2012 11:21 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"Vivat Rex" from only a year later is currently being repeated on Radio 4 Extra. A project of similarly large scale, I guess the presence of Richard Burton, John Gielgud et al in the cast persuaded whoever decided what should be junked and what should be kept that it definitely belonged in the latter category.

The BBC aren't alone in their having lost so much material. Going off topic ITV were equally bad in their dumping of so much of TV material from the early 1970s. Being charitable to both organisations I suppose at the time they weren't to know that there would eventually be a potentially lucrative home entertainment market for such material with the advent of VHS and then DVD/BluRay (if they had then the contracts with performers might have reflected it) and there was only so much storage space available. And yet there are ancient things that have survived you felt sure (and in some cases hoped, given their cringeworthy nature after all these years!) would have been lost and others that have fallen through the cracks. A pity.
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Helen



Joined: 05 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Apr 05, 2013 11:18 pm    Post subject: Les Miserables Reply with quote

What a shame that this series has been lost. I was only 13 at the time but I remember listening to every episode. It was truly superb. I also loved the theme music and only discovered what it was years later when I heard it played at a concert. It was the 4th movement (March to the scaffold) of Symphonie Fantastique by Hector Berlioz. A perfect choice!

Helen.
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Director_General
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Joined: 26 May 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Bradwell on Sea, Essex

PostPosted: Thu Apr 11, 2013 6:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome to the Forum Helen.

This isn’t my favourite type of radio drama so I am not 100% certain but I am sure (based on discussions with other collectors) that all of these dramas do exist although they may be only available in private collections.

Carbonel will know better than I if it has since been found, but I will put out a few enquiries and get back.

It will undoubtedly be in someone’s collection.
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Helen



Joined: 05 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:33 am    Post subject: Les Miserables Reply with quote

Thank you, that would be much appreciated. I would love to hear this series again. Best of luck with your enquiries.

Helen.
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Director_General
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Joined: 26 May 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Bradwell on Sea, Essex

PostPosted: Tue Apr 16, 2013 12:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The Series does exist and I have been offered a copy.


DG


Last edited by Director_General on Mon Apr 29, 2013 9:18 am; edited 1 time in total
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Helen



Joined: 05 Apr 2013
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2013 10:52 am    Post subject: Les Miserables Reply with quote

Wonderful news! Hopefully I will also be offered a copy soon. Meanwhile, my quest continues....

Last edited by Helen on Fri Jun 21, 2013 10:12 pm; edited 1 time in total
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mstevens909



Joined: 16 Apr 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Jun 20, 2013 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hopefully someone will offer the BBC a copy also Very Happy
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humanracer



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Sun Jun 01, 2014 10:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for this info. I came here because I found a reference to a radio adaptation of Les Miserables in 1976 while searching The Times archive. Sadly it gave no details of the actors concerned.

I have added the details to the wiki page (most of the page is based on my research)
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Adaptations_of_Les_Misérables

Someone mentioned they had been offered a copy? Did you ever get that copy? would you be willing to share it?

I am also hoping the 1967 TV series will be released on DVD.


Thanks

Robert
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chris



Joined: 11 Jun 2015
Posts: 1

PostPosted: Thu Jun 11, 2015 6:29 pm    Post subject: 1976 Les Miserables Radio Drama Reply with quote

I have joined this discussion in the hope that it might just be possible to hear this wonderful drama again. I was 19 at the time this was broadcast, a student at Lancaster University, enjoying the wonderful summer of that year and thankfully free to listen every Tuesday. I subsequently read the novel twice and have always been astounded that it was made into a musical (never seen it). I did record a couple of episodes but only to listen again at the time, I never kept them. It was such a beautiful adaptation, I really hope that it might become available in some way, any news anyone?
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Director_General
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Joined: 26 May 2007
Posts: 82
Location: Bradwell on Sea, Essex

PostPosted: Fri Jul 03, 2015 8:24 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Chris

Welcome to the forum. The recordings do exist in private collections even if the BBC didn't look after it. I do know some people who have it, but they are concered about the BBC's copyright, so keep it private an do not upload it to the internet etc, unless they can swap it for something they do not have in their collection.
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humanracer



Joined: 01 Jun 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Thu Oct 29, 2015 8:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If anyone can share please PM me. I would even pay for the inconvenience of having to upload it. The novel is my all time favourite and I wasn't even born when this was made.
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mstevens909



Joined: 16 Apr 2013
Posts: 8
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

This series is no longer lost as it has now been been released on the internet.
Listening to it now Very Happy
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