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Unseen Academicals

An Audible Original Drama
Length: 4 hrs and 32 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (134 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

Average Customer Ratings

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    3 out of 5 stars
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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.

24 of 25 people found this review helpful

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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.

11 of 12 people found this review helpful

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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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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.

9 of 10 people found this review helpful

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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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Awesome

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

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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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.

15 of 19 people found this review helpful

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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.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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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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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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  • Kate
  • 07-10-18

Terrible adaptation of a wonderful book

Terry Pratchett fans beware, this is a complete insult to the Discworld series. Beloved characters and book specific characters alike have have been changed beyond belief. Within the first few minutes I found myself perplexed by the characterisation of Angua, then utterly confused by Lord Vetenari. Then there’s the complete change to the actual story and to characters like Trev and Nutt.

Its as if the writer read the blurb of the book, a list of characters and never read any other discworld book or even this one. Don’t waste your money on what is a terrible adaptation.

109 of 111 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Grandad
  • 07-14-18

This is an extremely poor adaption of one of Terry Pratchett's best books.

This version of Unseen Academicals is not a patch on the original version narrated by Stephen Briggs. This audio book only follows a general outline of the original book changing the context and character out of all recognition. The back story and character development are all missing so that you don't come to love the individual characters and get really involved in what happens to them.
This audio book is probably fine for those people who are not Terry Pratchett fans but for those of us who eagerly awaited each new addition to the Disk World it is a traversty and not a decent tribute to one of the greatest writer of modern fiction.the

59 of 60 people found this review helpful

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  • Rob Thurgood
  • 07-07-18

Very disappointing

I was very excited when I saw this was coming and pre-ordered it as soon as I saw it. when it was released I listened to it in one sitting on a long car journey. Sadly my levels of anticipation beforehand were only to be matched by my level of disappointment afterwards.

I love the book and I loved the unabridged audiobook of it, but this dramatised version changes the story so much it was barely recognisable. The character subtleties and developments that are such a key feature of Sir Terry's work are gone, to be replaced with 2D characters and storyline. All the subtle wit is gone.

If you've not read the book and / or are not a huge Sir Terry Pratchett fan then you may well enjoy this, but otherwise steer clear, you WILL be disappointed ☹️

66 of 68 people found this review helpful

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  • Jonathan
  • 07-15-18

Stick with the original.

Unfortunately the adaptation has removed almost all of Terry’s wit and wisdom. Not the performers fault at all, but very disappointing.

14 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Pamela
  • 01-08-19

This is terrible in every aspect

It is just plain downright awful. There are no two ways about it. I cannot recommend it on any level there is no redeeming factor. Narration poor. The story is as if the person has been asked to write the most stereotypical two-dimensional characters. The joy of a play is the dialogue between the characters, but this is almost non-existent. Instead, there is some Dad quality of reading from David Jason. It is disappointing. Buy something else.

11 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-02-18

Abomination unto Nuggan

If you're going to adapt a Terry Pratchett novel DON'T MESS WITH THE STORY LINE OR THE CHARACTERISATION!
The narration and the performances are fantastic though.

22 of 23 people found this review helpful

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  • Frankieg3
  • 01-08-19

This breaks my heart.

OK I am a big Disc World fan but I did come to this with and open mind, I did not expect the book.

What I liked. The cast is very good, production is what I expect from Audible and the report of the Foot the Ball Match is inspired.

Shame about the rest. Did anyone read the book? Time line was all over the place. It was if some one had taken the main points out on different pieces of paper and muddled them up. The way some of the characters have been messed around with when it was not necessary leaves me wondering who to put on the naughty step. Characters written against type, it was not necessary.

If you do not know Disc World, great, listen and enjoy. Then get the full book on Audible and laugh yourself silly at the real thing.

9 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Andrew M.
  • 07-03-18

Avoid If you are a Discworld fan

Disgusted that this was marketed directly at Pratchett fans. Characters bent out of shape, story unrecognisable. It just grinds my gears so much I never got past Chapter 3.

65 of 71 people found this review helpful

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  • MISS A R DONNELLY
  • 07-03-18

STP fans beware

If you're a Sir Terry diehard I doubt youll enjoy this. The story has been changed a bit- sacrilege!- but worst of all some of the characters become almost unrecognisable- for instance Trev is a complete bully at the start.

However there are other issues- this is about 60% narration, and i think thats a fairly conservative estimate. Great as David Jason is, this makes it an odd hodge podge between a reading and play, and neither is entirely successful. The brilliant character actors therefore arent trusted to do their jobs, and it makes it feel quite clunky overall. One of only two titles ive ever returned.

102 of 113 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Stacker
  • 07-03-18

Made me go back to the book!

Well, I got up extra early yesterday to download this book as I was so looking forward to it. Sadly, Audible have treated this in the same way Peter Jackson treated The Hobbit (which also made me re-read the book). Lost are the charm, wit and humour of Sir Terry and in its place are a some elements of the book with one character taking on several characters actions from the book.

Please leave these stories alone, Audible! The reason I bought this 'adaptation' was that I enjoyed the book. I didn’t need to listen to a story loosely based on the book - and by loosely, I mean some of the characters had the same name.

That said, I thought the cast did a sterling job with the material they had. I only wish they had stuck to the book a bit more faithfully, as I found it very hard to enjoy anything about it, and spent the four and a half hours mostly shaking my head in despair..... the only good this to come of this is apthat at least I shall enjoy re-reading the book.

99 of 111 people found this review helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-04-19

Disappointing Adaptation

If you are a Pratchett fan and have read and enjoyed this book, do yourself a favour and skip this. If you are new to Pratchett/Discworld, do yourself a favour and run away! Run away and find the Stephen Briggs narration, and your money will not be wasted. The writers have completely butchered this story as well as the representation of well-established Discworld characters (e.g. Vimes giving Vetinari his resignation).
The voice actors give good performances, particulalry David Jason who has starred in 2 different good Discworld TV dramatizations. This adaptation, however, is rubbish.

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  • ben broncher
  • 11-12-18

Very disappointing especially for Pratchett fans

I really hate to do this but this is nothing like the original book. It had been completely rewritten and unfortunately not in a good way. The characters are almost unrecognisable except for their names. The production value is great and so is the music and sound effects but if you are familiar with any of Terry's writing you will very likely be disappointed. It's essentially a completely different story and reads nothing like a discworld novel. All that aside it would probably be great for kids who aren't familiar with discworld.

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Ry Charleson
  • 08-02-18

Bad adaptation.

Didn't like this adaptation at all. Shame as this is a favourite book of mine.

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    1 out of 5 stars
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  • Caroline Pierson
  • 07-19-18

A travesty

Not written by a person who knows or loves Disc World. Unnecessary story changes, bad casting, completely changing the character of some of the characters. Listen to BBC radio 4 adaptations especially the ones done by Dirk Maggs and learn.