Audio : Spider-Man: BBC Radio Play

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This story is part of a Lookback Series: Sound of the Times

This review was first published on: 2007.


Here is Queen's guitarist Brian May and a group of radio actors doing The Amazing Spider-Man in a 1995 BBC 2CD set. Dolby Surround Sound. First broadcast on BBC Radio 1 FM, features theme music by Queen's Brian May, a full original orchestral score and sensational sound effects. Duration 2hrs 30min.

This disc also features the single "The Amazing Spider-Man Mastermix" by MC SPY-D And Friends. This single is available on cassette.

In Detail...

Spider-Man: BBC Radio Play
Year 1995 : SM Title
Summary: CD Code ZBBC 1717 (Double CD)
Publisher:  Queen Music, Ltd.
Producer:  Brian May, Justin Shirley-Smith
Record Label:  BBC Radio 1
Story Adaptation:  Dirk Maggs
Music:  Brian May, Mark Russell
Voice:  William Dufris
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The radio play, I believe, was first broadcast in January 1996 in short segments approximately 5 to 7 minutes in length.

The whole play runs to a length of approximately 2 and a half hours. In England this covers just about any car journey I make and I often listen to it to help pass the time.

The production values of this radio play are exceptionally high, the soundtrack is recorded in Dolby Surround. The promotional blurb advertises it as 'a movie without pictures' and this IMHO is not far from the truth.

The story largely follows Spidey's origin and first super hero / villain encounters, there is a large cross over plot involving the Fantastic Four. The Super villains involved in the play are Doctor Octopus, Sandman, Green Goblin (very briefly) and Doctor Doom. Supporting characters include Aunt May, Uncle Ben (briefly), JJJ, Flash Thompson, Liz Allan, Betty Brant.

In General...

All in all the play manages to capture the feel of the first few sixties issues of Amazing Spiderman with largely contemporary settings and references. The stories sort of follow the original comics, however a lot of artistic license is employed.

I find repeated listenings hugely enjoyable, the voice characterisations are very good, JJ's voice in particular is spot on IMHO. I also like Spidey's encounter with Doc Oc, which to me is very funny, even though the good Doctor does come over as a bit of a fruit loop.

Despite being a BBC production all the voices of the characters (with the exception of Doctor Octopus) have North American accents, I don't really feel I am in a position to judge how good they are, some of the Actors may indeed be American, at least one (Anita Dobson - Liz Allan) is not.

I have only spotted one major error in the play, MJ's aunt is referred to as Mrs Watkins not Watson.

Overall Rating...

The stories with in the play are good, the soundtrack (especially when fed through a Dolby pro-logic amplifier) is awesome. If you want a semi-nostalgic trip to the spider-verse I can thoroughly recommend it. Four webs.