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JRR Tolkien and the other 'Inklings' met at the Eagle and Child to discuss writing

Video: Academic searches for the real Tolkien in an unbroadcast interview

Matt Pickles


We know a lot about JRR Tolkien's writings and his biography.

But what was the creator of Middle Earth like when he was being ordered around for a documentary?

An Oxford academic has found the answer while researching for a BBC Radio 4 documentary.

The documentary, which was broadcast on Saturday, follows the search by Dr Stuart Lee, an English academic and an expert on JRR Tolkien, to find an unbroadcast interview with Tolkien which was shot as part of a documentary on the Lord of the Rings author in 1968.

In the BBC archives, Dr Lee found 90 minutes of unbroadcast interview with Tolkien that was filmed in addition to the seven minutes used in the original documentary.

While making the programme, Dr Lee brought together the original documentary-maker Lesley Megahey, and three stars of the documentary: researcher Patrick O’Sullivan, Tolkien fan Michael Hebbert, and critic Valentine Cunningham.

Over a pint in Tolkien’s favourite pub, the Eagle and Child, Dr Stuart Lee explains what this video tells us about the author.