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Unseen Academicals

An Audible Original Drama
Written by: Terry Pratchett
Length: 4 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (45 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Football has come to the ancient city of Ankh-Morpork - not the old fashioned, grubby pushing and shoving but the new, fast football with pointy hats for goalposts and balls that go gloing when you drop them. And now, the wizards of Unseen University must win a football match, without using magic, so they're in the mood for trying everything else. 

The prospect of the Big Match draws in a street urchin with a wonderful talent for kicking a tin can, a maker of jolly good pies, a dim but beautiful young woman who might just turn out to be the greatest fashion model there has ever been, and the mysterious Mr Nutt (and no one knows anything much about Mr Nutt, not even Mr Nutt, which worries him, too).

As the match approaches, four lives are entangled and changed for ever. Because the thing about football - the important thing about football - is that it is not just about football.

This Audible Original multicast dramatisation is directed by the multiaward-winning Dirk Maggs, best known for his adaptations of Douglas Adams' Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere for the BBC.

Starring Tom Alexander, Samantha Béart, Pippa Bennett-Warner, Mark Benton, Stephen Briggs, Stephen Critchlow, Jon Culshaw, Phil Davis, Ray Fearon, Tony Gardner, Edward Harrison, David Holt, Mathew Horne, David Jason, Josie Lawrence, Toby Longworth, Harry Myers, Maggie Service, Andrew Spooner, Steven Webb, Keith Wickham and Jaime Winstone.

©2018 Terry and Lyn Pratchett (P)2018 Audible, Ltd

What members say

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A fantastic listen!

One of my favourite writer’s work
Has been brought hilariously to life! Beyond a simple reading, it is an entertaining radio play! I am looking forward to seeing many more of these stellar books!
(Are you listening, Audible? More! More! More!)
#Audible1

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Fun!

This was my first radio show and I must say I enjoyed it very much! I loved the ensembles cast, and was entertained by the sound effects that accompanied them (particularly the teensy shriek from the screaming banana pie!!).

This was also my first Terry Pratchett book and despite my worries I was able to enjoy it fine without having read any of the others. I loved the humourous style of writing and this one has me burning to listen to all the other Discworld books...the problem is the price would be far out of my range, collectively :(

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars

This is a radio show, not a book :(

The book is narrated in multiple voices and with background noises. While it makes it a good show for radio, I still had to cancel listening - the accents on some of the voices are so thick I simply do not understand them. And when the description of an action is replaced with the sound of the action, it not necessary makes it easier to understand what's going on.

I appreciate the amount of effort put into making it, but in audible I want to read the book, not a derivative work, sorry.

P.S. I see now that it is calles Drama. My bad then.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • mran
  • 2018-07-14

Unnecessary rewriting

I'm extremely familiar with the book, and the audio book. This is a different story. It's like they took the names, dialog, and events of Pratchett's book, and rearranged them, and slapped them over different characters, for no apparent reason. Like they just stripped down the damn book for parts. The worst part, for me, is Vetinari's story about the otter eating the salmon. In Pratchett's story, this is a major statement of the author's philosophy. It ends with the Patrician saying, "if there is a god, it is surely our duty to be his moral superior." But in this bastardization, the butchers have left out that line, and turned the meaning around so that Vetinari is urging his listeners to be just as ruthless as the otter. That's inexcusable license, and not something Terry would ever have said. If you just pretend it 's a totally different story, unrelated to Pratchett, it's enjoyable. The acting is pretty good. I'll probably listen to it again, because I like to get my money's worth.

23 of 24 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Helen
  • 2018-07-13

Well... that was odd.

I wasn't overly fond of Maggs reworking of Douglas Adams, but this is frankly unrecognisable as being (Sir) Terry Pratchett.

It's like Shakespeare reworked in the style of the Toxic Avenger. Without the laughs.

10 of 11 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Van
  • 2018-07-02

Abridged Dramatic Performance

Let there be no doubt, this is a dramatic performance of the book. This is my first time listening to a dramatic performance of a book I have read and love. I realize this is my personal opinion but I found nothing the dramatization offered that the original audiobook was lacking.

I was reminded of how I feel watching a bad movie adaptation of a great book, only intensified. This adaptation adds nothing to the original work and losses much of it.

The story is told better and is much more enjoyable in it's original audiobook format.
If you have never read Unseen Academicals you are doing yourself a great disservice settling with this version of the tale. If you have read the book I do not think you will gain anything by listening to this.

I may be missing the entire point and there may be many people who enjoy this circa 1930s radio production (in style only, the audio quality is top notch) I am not one of them. In my opinion you have nothing to lose and only a better and a much richer story to enjoy by listening to the audiobook.

I know there will be those who say that I am missing the point because this is a dramatic performance. My response is as a lover of this book and of Terry Pratchett's work, I found this way of telling his story vastly inferior to the audiobook.

43 of 50 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • JDSteppenzyde
  • 2018-07-16

Characters unrecognizable and plot points twisted

This is not at all like the novel. The best part is the game coverage, but it also is problematic. The ending is abrupt. I’m a huge fan of Terry Pratchett, but this is not his book. It is well acted, with some famous talent, which is wasted on this twisted to breaking tale.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Steve
  • 2018-11-18

fav bbc radio director doing my fav author

I would have been shocked if I didn't absolutely love this. I am, as of finishing, unshocked

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • barb rock
  • 2018-08-03

Awesome

I loved it... I am not a sports fan but I really enjoyed the game...

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Marcel (MadJo)
  • 2018-07-08

Made me angry

This audio dramatization lacks everything that makes the book witty.

The person who made the adaptation took a lot of freedom with the characters to the point that they are no longer recognizable.

Trevor spewing beer over Mister Nutt? (where was that in the original book?).

Old man Stollop calling his daughter a "bitch" and calling Glenda "blobby", what the everloving shit?! Never once would Sir Terry have resorted to such a low level insult for one of his characters. It's also the point where I gave up on this nonsense.

I don't know what this is an adaptation of, but it ain't Discworld.

On the plus side, the actors do a tremendous job with a very mediocre script. And David Jason as narrator works for me. Though at times the background music isn't exactly in the background.

If you're a fan of Discworld, get the actual (audio)book of Unseen Academicals. Which is a fun take on Romeo and Juliet wrapped in a football story, where you learn that it is possible to get out of the crab bucket and that where you grew up, doesn't have to define who you are, no matter if you grew up in Dimwell, Dolly Sisters or Uberwald chained to an anvil.
But stay away from this audio drama.

14 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Luke
  • 2018-07-06

An enjoyable adaptation!

As an avid consumer of all works Terry Pratchett related, I thoroughly enjoyed this audio drama. It is important to note that this production is not trying to match the full exposition of the unabridged audiobook, which is an amazing narration by Stephen Briggs, (who incidentally voices Drumknott in this drama). I would encourage listeners to purchase this unabridged audio of UA first, as it tells the full tale as wrote by TP; this is a variant of the classic 'read the book before you see the movie' situation.

Having said all that I found this audio drama very engaging once I suspended my disbelief and stopped getting hung up on thoughts like 'but this doesn't match the canon!'. All in all I found it to be an excellent re-work of UA for a full cast format, and I'm really hoping for more discworld audio dramas like this in the future. Full cast Night Watch adaptation anyone?

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-07-15

Book Vs. Audio Drama

I love the book. However, I did not like this audio drama. I know that audio dramas change the story in order to fit the new medium, but many of the changes, especially in the earlier parts of the book, completely changed many characters personalities which made how they ended up at the same spots feel slightly more awkward and forced. But if I had not previously read the book, I might have rated the story higher.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Meri
  • 2018-10-29

Eh. Brigg's Reading is Better

1) Don't try to walk the dog while listening to this. The background ambiance, noises, and music drown out the dialog.

2) Bad changes to the story narrative. Vimes notably doesn't drink. He's an alcoholic. Henry ,the former Dean, is not a bad guy. The Stollops are not evil. It's like the person writing the teleplay doesn't know Pratchett's work and doesn't care that some of us do. I don't think they would do this to, say, Austin or King.

3) I love David Jason, and his narration is good. He knew Pratchett and his work, but it's a shame his name is tied to this.

I re-read Pratchett's work all the time. I won't be re-reading this. I'll stick to Briggs's narration. I recommend you do, too.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful