Reevaluating Tom Baker’s Puddleglum | Talking Beasts

Tom Baker is perhaps the most iconic actor to portray a character from The Chronicles of Narnia. In this episode, the podcasters compare his performance to the original book, and discuss Episode 2 of BBC’s The Silver Chair adaptation.

Bonus: Watch the post-show chatter in which the podcasters discuss the Oscars.

Rilian, Gymfan, Glumpuddle

5 Responses

  1. Francesco says:

    I think the music is really great in this one. In the parliament of Owls / flashback scene and when the trio are setting off on their adventure. It feels so atmospheric and really enhances the story

  2. Cleander says:

    Pretty sure my favorite part of Tom Baker’s Puddleglum is his groan (which is another thing my siblings love to imitate): “Ohohohohohoho!”

  3. jasmine_tarkheena says:

    The scene with the dragon seemed just kind of random. The line where Puddleglum says, “Maybe if we keep quiet, he’ll go away”, it almost sounds like Dr. Grant in Jurassic Park, “Keep absolutely still. Its vision is based on movement.”

  4. Col Klink says:

    Come to think of it, it is kind of odd that the BBC omitted Father Christmas’s line, “battles are ugly when women fight,” but they didn’t do more to justify Jill not getting a bow and arrows.

    I didn’t notice they different technology for different owls. That’s interesting.

    FWIW, I’d say the Drinian-Caspian exchange works a little better here than in the Radio Theater adaptation though I overall prefer the latter by far.

    I’m a bit curious as to why Glumpuddle feels this version of The Silver Chair isn’t told as much from Jill’s perspective as the book was. She’s the first character we’re really introduced to in the first scene and there are very few moments where she’s not present or not an active participant in conversations. (The only one I can think of now is a brief bit of Eustace floating to Narnia by himself.)

    I love Glumpuddle’s point about how they changed Puddleglum’s line about his name and missed the punchline. But I’m not sure if I agree with him that they consistently omit his bold and optimistic side. Are they any other lines they changed like that? I can’t think of any off the top of my head. Later in this episode, Glumpuddle admits that at this point in the story, Puddleglum is supposed to come across as more ridiculous than we realize he is by the end. After all, he’s wrong about the wood being wet, the food being inedible, etc. It’s only when they encounter the LOTGK that we realize he’s smart. I don’t love this version’s moaning over the stream crossing, but I can defend it by saying it’s part of that misdirection.

    That being said, I don’t love Tom Baker’s Puddleglum and I don’t get why some consider his performances one of the best in the BBC Narnia saga. (That’s not a knock on BBC Narnia. There are actors in it whose performances I enjoy more.) I mean he’s fine, but he’s just a tad hammy. Not super hammy, more like a cold hammy. And I believe the brilliance of Puddleglum’s dialogue would shine forth if he delivered his eccentric lines in a really deadpan or casual manner. Also, I’ve watched episodes 3 and 4 of The Silver Chair by now and his “oohs” start to get a little annoying. So, unlike Glumpuddle, this take on Puddleglum is neither my favorite nor my least favorite part of this adaptation. #notmypuddleglum

  5. Narnian78 says:

    I think Tom Baker was great as Puddleglum and his personality was a perfect match for the character. He was so honest and realistic with his dark moodiness but not completely negative. He should be remembered for this performance as he was for playing the fourth doctor on Dr. Who. The recordings used here were from some of the best scenes in all of the BBC Narnia.