When Walt Disney was having trouble negotiating with Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (you can hear what the Sherman Brothers experienced with her on the most recent Poppins soundtrack CD), he had the movie rights to Mary Norton's Bed-knob and Broomstick as a back up.

Poppins was released in 1964, of course, and Bedknobs and Broomsticks (with plurals added to the title) premiered in 1971. The latter film was produced post-Walt and won an Academy Award for Visual Effects (from five nominations including Best Song, "The Age of Not Believing").

This week and next, in ten 15-minute episodes, you can hear Patricia Hodge read an adaptation of dramatization of the original book on BBC Radio 7 (actually, it was two books, The Magic Bedknob and Bonfires and Broomsticks, combined in one volume).

The first episode is here and each will be available for 7 days after their initial airing. There are quite a few differences between the Norton and Disney versions. Enjoy!

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