Rob Inglis

For other uses, see Robert Inglis.

Robert Inglis (1933[1]) is an actor, writer, journalist, critic and producer who has primarily worked in Australia and England. He is the narrator of the unabridged audiobook editions of J. R. R. Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit.

Life and career

External image
Rob Inglis – portrait photograph.

Inglis was born in Australia but has lived and worked in England for many years. As of 2012, he lives in Somers Town, a district in central London.[2]

His plays include Voyage of the Endeavour (1965), based on the journal of Captain James Cook; Canterbury Tales (1968), dramatised readings from Chaucer; Erf (1971), a one-actor play about the twenty-first century; A Rum Do (1970), a musical based on the governorship of Lachlan Macquarie; and Men Who Shaped Australia, for Better or for Worse (1968), a one-actor play dealing with significant historical figures.[1] His more recent works include a play about Lisa Pontecorvo, the daughter of geneticist Guido Pontecorvo, it played in small theatres and community centres around England in 2010 and 2011.[3] In 2012, he was awarded a £16,000 Arts Council grant to write Regent's Canal, a Folk Opera, a musical that celebrates the 200th anniversary of the digging of the eight-mile Regent's Canal.[2]

He has adapted works to stage for one-man performances of A Christmas Carol (1983),[4] and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, for which Inglis was called "one of the wonders of the Fringe."[5] He has also adapted Chaucer, Shakespeare, Tolkien and Orwell to one act performances.[6] Inglis has appeared with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the Royal Court Theatre, playing characters such as the Ghost and Claudius in Hamlet and Mr. Bumble in Oliver!.[6]

Inglis' TV appearances including as Ned Kelly in "The Stringybark Massacre" (short, 1968); as Chief sub in Play for Today (TV series, 1978/79); as Professor Doom in Wizbit (TV series, 1986); as Alan Clark in Casualty (TV series, 2002).

Inglis has narrated audiobooks by Tolkien (described below), and the first three books by Ursula K. Le Guin in the Earthsea Cycle.[7]

Tolkien works

In the 1970s and 80s, Inglis wrote, produced and acted in one-man stage dramatisations of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings.[8] These performances have been described as "award winning".[9]

It was through his one-man stage adaptions that he was noticed by Recorded Books and asked to narrate an unabridged edition of Lord of the Rings (1990) and soon after The Hobbit (1991).[10][11] It was one of Recorded Books best-selling titles[12] however prior to 2012 it was only available on physical media (CD-ROM or tape) at which point it was released in digital format.[13] Laura Miller of said

"Inglis strikes precisely the right note in his narration. It is an old-fashioned audiobook narration, one that feels more read than performed, although the voices of the many characters are all well-developed. It's ever so slightly prosy, and the sensation conveyed is exactly like listening to a favourite relative read to a beloved child the same book he (beautifully) read to you when you were a child."[13]

Inglis' reading of The Hobbit is the only unabridged edition of the book ever made.[14] The J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia (2006) called it a "remarkable performance in which he provides distinctive voices for the various characters and sings the songs in the story".[14] The encyclopaedia says of The Lord of the Rings, "his voices for the characters are less dramatic and there are no sound effects".[14]

In a 2001 AudioFile interview, Inglis says they recorded Lord of the Rings in an "intense" six-week period in 1990 at the New York studio of Recorded Books.[15] They then recorded The Hobbit about a year later. Inglis prepared with guidance from acting colleges in dramatic societies to perfect the many character voices.[15] Inglis says, "There is much in the original writing that suggests how a character should be brought to life. It's quite strange. At times it felt like Tolkien himself was talking to me through his prose, telling me how things should be."[15] Inglis says he composed some of the music for the songs himself, some music was composed by Tolkien, and Claudia Howard of Recorded Books composed the rest.[15]


  1. 1 2 "Inglis, Rob (1933– )". The Oxford Companion to Australian Literature (2 ed.). Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  2. 1 2 Peter Gruner (23 August 2012). "Musical writer Rob Inglis finishes off folk opera script from hospital bed". CamdenNewJournal. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  3. Peter Gruner (5 February 2010). "Lisa the musical – a dramatic tribute to Ms Pontecorvo". CamdenNewJournal. Retrieved 9 January 2014.
  4. Louis Kronenberger (1984). The Best Plays. Dodd, Mead. p. 408. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  5. Owen Dudley Edwards (1991). City of a thousand worlds: Edinburgh in festival. Mainstream Publishing. pp. 189–190. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  6. 1 2 "Rob Inglis". Recorded Books. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  7. Mark Phillips Tierney (Mar95, Vol. 41 Issue 3, p175). "Audiovisual review: Recordings". School Library Journal. Retrieved 8 January 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  8. Christina Scull; Wayne G. Hammond (2006). JRR Tolkien companion & guide. Houghton Mifflin. p. 9,23. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  9. Mythprint, Volumes 29–30. Mythopoeic Society. 1992. p. 90,144,146. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  10. Mark J.P. Wolf (2013). Building Imaginary Worlds: The Theory and History of Subcreation. Routledge. p. 247. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  11. Jo Carr (Mar/Apr94, Vol. 70 Issue 2, p181). "Producing audiobooks: How do they do it?". Horn Book Magazine. Retrieved 8 January 2014. Check date values in: |date= (help)
  12. Jay P. Pederson (2007). International Directory of Company Histories, Volume 84. Gale. p. 181. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  13. 1 2 Laura Miller (18 October 2013). ""The Hobbit" uncut, at last". Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  14. 1 2 3 Michael D.C. Drout (2006). J.R.R. Tolkien Encyclopedia: Scholarship and Critical Assessment. Routledge. p. 131. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
  15. 1 2 3 4 Joseph P. Menta (December 2001 – January 2002). "Talking With Rob Inglis". AudioFile. Retrieved 8 January 2014.
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