J.R.R. Tolkien The Real Middle Earth


J.R.R. Tolkein

“The Battle For Middle Earth” Radio Documentary, Switch 107.5 FM

J.R.R. Tolkien, author of the The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings and the Simarillion has become one of the 20th century’s most influential writers. His fantasy creations are known and loved around the world and have reached new audiences through the remarkable success of director Peter Jackson’s cinematic adaptations of The Lord of the Rings and more recently The Hobbit, shot entirely in New Zealand.

But the inspiration behind the books and films can actually be found in South Birmingham, where Tolkien grew up.

I can remember the excitement back in 2001 for the release of the first film in the Lord of the Rings trilogy – “The Fellowship of the Ring”. All of New Zealand was buzzing in anticipation. Together with the following two films – it went on to become the highest grossing motion picture trilogy of all time, with the final film, The Return of the King, receiving eleven Oscar awards.  Of course, Jackson later returned to Middle Earth with a new trilogy of films.

To mark the release of “The Hobbit; An Unexpected Journey” in the UK, I put together this doc for a community station “Switch” here in Birmingham. It looks at the origins of Tolkien’s fantasy creations in Sth. Birmingham – and challenges Wellington’s NZ’s claim to the title of Middle Earth. The doc features the excellent Larry Rew as presenter (who endured hypothermia standing around in car parks to record his links – sorry). Dan Collins managed to get a rare (and very insightful) interview with Tolkien’s great-nephew Tim Tolkien, which was also included. So many thanks to Dan.

As a fan of Tolkien and his work, I was delighted to get to work on this series of Tolkien related videos for The Library of Birmingham. These clips look at Tolkien’s early years in Birmingham and the influence the city had on his writings.

1. The Early Years

2. Local Landmarks

3. Kinver Rock Houses

4. Middle Earth Weekend

5. Vivienne Wilkes


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