Saturday, 2 March 2019

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas

Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
Originally broadcast in the UK by the BBC in 1954. This production was first broadcast in 1963.

One of my WorldReads From Wales

How I got this book:
Bought an audiobook of the BBC radio production from Audible

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A classic BBC Radio full-cast production of Dylan Thomas' poetic play for voices starring Richard Burton as the narrator. To begin at the beginning: it is spring, moonless night in the small town, starless and bible-black....

When Richard Burton breathed the opening words of Under Milk Wood into a microphone, broadcasting history was made. For this 'play for voices' conjures up the intimate dreams and waking lives of the inhabitants of a Welsh seaside village in a remarkable way. It is bawdy and beautiful; its colourful characters lust and love, gossip and fantasise. Through the magic of language, 'Under Milk Wood' creates a rich modern pastoral which, once heard, touches the listener with its poetry and haunts the imagination for ever. This radio drama is the completed version broadcast in 1963, which includes several passages that were omitted from the first recording in 1954.

Under Milk Wood is deservedly famous as a piece of writing and although I had not heard this audio recording before I downloaded it from Audible a couple of years ago, I had heard of it. Richard Burton's narration is wonderfully atmospheric throughout and I love the way the character voices are integrated into the whole work, especially where they speak over each other. Each person is recognisable, inflated and exaggerated no doubt, but not so much as to make them grotesque. The children's singing is a great touch. From the initial idea of a quaint Welsh village, Under Milk Wood gets darker and more poignant and I think this vintage BBC radio programme is probably the definitive recording. Even having seen an outstanding theatre production since my first listen to the radio version, I still believe the audio twinned with imagination is the best way to experience Under Milk Wood. Audio doesn't get much better than this!

Etsy Find!
by Anna Milton Shop in
Cowichan Bay, Canada

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Books by Dylan Thomas / Poetry / Books from Wales


  1. I doubt this would work for me but glad to hear you enjoyed it.

    1. It's a wonderful poem-play that really brings the community to life!