The Best Scene in BBC’s Narnia Series | Talking Beasts

In this episode, the podcasters begin a new discussion of BBC’s 1989 television mini-series adaptation of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. Listen and then post a comment below!

In Part 2 of this discussion, the podcasters compare this part of the series to the Walden Media movie (2010).

And, don’t forget to watch NarniaWeb’s discussion with Ben Barnes (Caspian 2008) and Samuel West (Caspian 1990)!

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle

12 Responses

  1. Larry W. says:

    I always loved the BBC version of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. It looked a bit primitive being made without much technology, but I loved it for the faithfulness to the books. I would liked it to have been three hours long (including all the episodes). But as it was, it wasn’t bad. The music was wonderful, and I wish that the original BBC soundtrack of this program was available for purchase.

  2. @jasminetarkheena says:

    I own the BBC-Mini series of Narnia on DVD. They are not the best adaptation (the visual effects are dated by today’s standards). I liked the Walden version better somewhat. I think they were done from their own perspective.

  3. Andy Harrelson says:

    Despite some of its technical limitations and pacing issues, I must say I prefer the BBC version MUCH more than the Walden version, and that’s coming from someone who’s incredibly biased towards the Walden movies

  4. Col Klink says:

    I really agree with what Glumpuddle said about this VDT having the best pacing in the BBC Narnia series thus far. LWW so too slow. PC was too fast. This felt just about right. I guess I can see Rilian’s point about them not taking enough time to relax and smell the roses too. (In fact, I really have to agree with his description of the BBC series as including lots of great things from the book but doing so in the manner of checking things off a list rather than out of a passion for the material.) But…well, I don’t particularly like the visuals or the casting of this adaptation, so I feel it wouldn’t have succeeded in capturing the book’s atmosphere if it had tried more. Just focusing on the adventurous and humorous aspects in this episode worked well for me. And if my memory serves, later episodes, like the one with Ramandu’s Island, are slower paced and more atmospheric.

    Don’t take what I said about not particularly liking the visuals or the casting to mean I dislike them BTW. In fact, in some significant ways, I prefer the look of this VDT to the 2010 movie version, which I can’t say of any of the other BBC Narnia serials. Everything there looked so bright and shiny and colorful that it never felt solid. Modern movies don’t try hard enough to make things look like they’re really there IMO. It’s like they’ve given up on trying to make CGI convincing. The ship and the body of water always look real in this VDT. (My ideal would be something less drab than the BBC and less fake looking than the Walden Media.) And while there aren’t any performances in it that I love the way I do those of Ben Barnes and Will Poulter in the VDT movie, there are none that strike me as outright bad like those of Georgie Henley and Skandar Keynes. Mostly, I feel like everyone’s fine. I just wish they’d take more opportunity to include bits of depth and nuance to their characterizations.

    I’ve gone on the record as finding the music for the BBC Narnia saga overrated. But I actually feel it works well for this one. That’s because it strikes me as sounding slow, melancholy, mysterious and slightly ominous, which doesn’t really say “Narnia” to me. But it does kind of say The Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I still don’t love it but it doesn’t feel wrong to me, like it does for, say, LWW.

    Speaking of music, I’d like to thank Glumpuddle for pointing out the possible symbolism of Caspian’s drum in the procession scene. That never occurred to me. I agree with Gymfan that, with the weird exception of Prince Caspian, the BBC Narnia series got better and better. Well, I guess I disagree a little bit because their Silver Chair isn’t my favorite as it is for most fans, but it was better than their LWW or PC. It’s great that this podcast’s voyage into this particular version of Narnia has gotten past the worst bits. Well, for the most part. We’ll see. 😉

  5. Impending Doom says:

    Great episode. It was good to hear the band all back together again – you three have great chemistry!

  6. @jasminetarkheena says:

    I think a good discussion would be a thread I did in the forum about “Hopes and Fears of HHB, MN and LB.” Since they’ve never been adapted to screen before (BBC Mini-Series and Disney/Walden Trilogy), it would be good to talk about hopes and fears.

  7. coracle says:

    Since the BBC LWW was produced as a 6-part serial, I’ve always thought of PC/VDT as a 6-part serial too. So it’s odd to think that the two were issued on separate discs/VCR tapes, and that someone could start at episode 3!
    The style and pace are typical of the BBC children’s serials of the time.
    My memory of the Narnia ones was that the scripts were a bit corny, they had some costume failures (the giant waddling kiwifruit, wrong sized cardigans, awkward padded costume worn by Warwick -‘Warrick’), and even that the acting was a bit theatrical.
    But – I find that every time I return to watch them, I enjoy them!
    Yes, there are those time constraint bits , but there are also charming English cultural gems from the early 20th century good authenticity. [far less anachronism]
    But I can’t make up my mind whether they are better as a follow-up illustration for watching after reading the books, or a long trailer for the books before reading them!

  8. Cleander says:

    Hey, the gang is back together again! Welcome back!
    This movie is a close second to the Silver Chair for my favorite BBC adaptation. The story is told in a pretty straightforward manner, and even though the effects suck as usual, it’s definitely less noticeable because of the prevalence of real scenery (an element even some modern films could benefit from).
    I also love the music for the scenes in the Last Sea. It surpasses any other portion of the soundtracks… in that it actually fits the scene quite well.

  9. Unabis says:

    It’s a wonderful post. The BBC rendition of The Voyage of the Dawn Treader has long been one of my favorites. It was a little crude in appearance, but I enjoyed it since it was so loyal to the source material. I would have preferred if it had lasted three hours (including all the episodes). However, it wasn’t terrible. I wish the original BBC soundtrack for this episode was available for purchase.

  10. Great episode, guys! During the last decade or so, I normally have very little motivation to watch the BBC Narnia adaptations. The only reason I have watched BBC’s LWW, PC and now this 1st VDT episode is because of your podcast. I enjoy them a lot, but in an analytical way partly. But also partly because of nostalgia. I saw all of these on the 90s European version of BBC called “BBC Prime” , since I lived in Eastern Europe during the mid 90s. So, I may be one of the few Narniawebbers who has actually seen these “on the BBC”! I am glad I was introducted to them around that time, being in primary school, rather than having seen them as a toddler, which would make my first impression different.

    I really like this actor playing Eustace. From memory, he did a great job in The Silver Chair, too. I am thinking I want to watch BBC’s SC immediately after finishing Dawn Treader, because I haven’t seen a screen version of that in at least 10 or 15 years – since last watching the BBC one, of course.

    I really like the Gumpas scene too! It “feels very BBC” too 🙂

  11. Just Queen, not High Queen says:

    I love that descriptions of BBC’s Dawn Treader script!
    I agree that the script is very script from what I remember and a lot of the directing is stale. As much as I have problems with Walden’s VDT directing, it’s still a lot more vibrant than the blandness of BBC’s directing.