Alan Bennett: Doctor Dolittle Stories

Hugh Lofting (and others)

Alan Bennett reads three enchanting Doctor Dolittle stories

Doctor Dolittle has an extraordinary talent – he can talk to the animals! Taught by his parrot, Polynesia, he is soon able to chat to every kind of creature – and his skill leads him into all sorts of adventures.

In The Story of Doctor Dolittle, the Doctor and his pets set sail for Africa to save the monkeys – but they face great danger and challenges, including a sinking ship and Barbary pirates...

The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle finds Doctor Dolittle on the high seas once again, this time with his young friend Tommy Stubbins. The pair head for Spider Monkey Island, a mysterious place of magic and secrets...

Doctor Dolittle’s Circus sees the Doctor in need of money, so he and his Pushmi-Pullyu join the circus. They’re such a hit with the other animals that Doctor Dolittle soon finds himself running the show!

Brilliantly read by Alan Bennett, whose delightfully whimsical rendition brings Doctor Dolittle and all his animal friends magically to life, this charming collection of stories will delight listeners young and old.

Duration: 6 hours approx.

The Story of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

‘Many years ago – when our grandfathers were little children – there was a doctor and his name was Dolittle’

Dr Dolittle lives in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh with his friends Dab-Dab the duck, Jip the dog, Gub-Gub the baby pig, Too-Too the owl, the parrot Polynesia, as well as rabbits in the pantry, white mice in the piano and a crocodile in the fish pond. Why do the animals love Dolittle so? Its because he can speak their language, and because he's the best animal doctor for miles around. When the monkeys in Africa call on his aid, Doctor Dolittle sets off on an marvellous voyage, encountering bad-tempered kings, fearsome pirates and the mysterious pushmi-pullyu along the way.

Includes exclusive material: In the Backstory you can learn about the different ways that animals talk to each other!

Vintage Children’s Classics is a twenty-first century classics list aimed at 8-12 year olds and the adults in their lives. Discover timeless favourites from The Jungle Book and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland to modern classics such as The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas and The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.

The Story Of Doctor Dolittle

Hugh Lofting

Once upon a time, many years ago - when our grandfathers were little children - there was a doctor, and his name was Dolittle - John Dolittle M.D.

Doctor Dolittle likes animals. In fact, he likes them so much he fills his house with every kind of creature imaginable and even learns to talk their language. And when the Doctor hears of a terrible sickness among the monkeys in Africa, soon he and his animal friends are setting off on the most unforgettable adventure . . .

Dr Dolittle Takes Charge

Hugh Lofting

When Doctor Dolittle joins the circus to earn some money, he's horrified to see the dreadful conditions all the animals are living in. When the star act - a talking horse - falls ill , the ringmaster realises there's only one person who can help him and that's Doctor Dolittle. But Doctor Dolittle is only willing to help if life is made better for all the other animals! This new Doctor Dolittle retelling will introduce new readers to this well loved character and his exciting adventures. A funny, simple and beautifully illustrated book to encourage reading.

Dr Dolittle's Ambulance

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle's dogs know how hard their master works. Together, they come up with a plan to make an ambulance that charges around Puddleby picking up ill animals and bringing them to the Doctor. They're very eager to please, in fact perhaps a little too energetic in their search for a patient. Mayhem ensues as the dogs run riot bringing their own brand of first aid to Puddleby.This new Doctor Dolittle retelling will introduce new readers to this well loved character and his exciting adventures. A funny, simple and beautifully illustrated book to encourage reading.

Dr Dolittle's First Adventure

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle loves animals - and he can actually talk to them as well! When the Doctor receives a mysterious call inviting him to Africa, his animal adventures really begin! A new retelling of the classic, The Story of Doctor Dolittle, which will introduce new readers to this well loved character and his many friends.A funny, simple and beautifully illustrated book to encourage reading.

Doctor Dolittle And The Lighthouse

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle loves animals - and he can actually talk to them as well! It's a good job too when there is a disaster looming. A lone sparrow warns the Doctor that the Cape Stephen Lighthouse is not working and a ship is sailing towards rocks. Between them, Doctor Dolittle and his animal friends save the day and get the lighthouse working again! This new Doctor Dolittle retelling will introduce new readers to this well loved character and his exciting adventures. A funny, simple and beautifully illustrated book to encourage reading.

Dr Dolittle Saves The Day

Hugh Lofting

When the alarm is raised that Moorsden Manor is on fire, Doctor Dolittle and his animals are the first to run to the scene and help put out the fire. However, the owner of the manor, Mr Throgmorten, is terrible angry with the doctor and it becomes apparent that there is something very strange going on. Doctor Dolittle, with the help of his animal friends is about to uncover Mr Throgmorten's secret - a very large insurance scam.

Dr Dolittle In Trouble

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle is desperate to write a book about all his animal friends. But his house is so full of animals that he never has a chance to finish all of his jobs and enjoy a moment's peace to write. So, when his friend, Matthew Mugg, suggests a solution to Doctor Dolittle's search for solitude, the Doctor agrees to try it. However, the plan is a little drastic - Matthew's recommendation for peace and quiet is a prison cell. But to find your way in a cell means doing all sorts of naughty things even if your intentions are innocent. Doctor Dolittle will need the help of all his animal friends to get him out of this pickle.

Dr Dolittle To The Rescue

Hugh Lofting

Sophie the Seal needs rescuing, but it is no mean feat even for the Doctor who can talk to animals - especially when he has to pretend that Sophie is his sick realtive. This story is madly exciting and excitingly mad.

Dr Dolittle; Bravest Man In The World

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle is off on his travels again. But this time he's got a new companion; Tommy Stubbins, his young assistant. And it's during this exciting voyage that Tommy discovers the Doctor's secret. He isn't just the cleverest man in the world, but also the bravest.

Dr. Dolittle And The Secret Lake

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle is determined to continue the work he started on the Moon to find the secret of everlasting life. But to carry on, he must consult Mudface, the ancient turtle who lives in the Secret Lake in Africa. And when the doctor hears that Mudface has been burried during an Earthquake, the Doctor's journey becomes an emergancy rescue mission

Doctor Dolittle's Puddleby Adventure

Hugh Lofting

From a voyage to Africa to a dog detective solving mysteries in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh, these adventures are as enthralling as any in the Doctor's eventful life.

Dr. Dolittle's Return

Hugh Lofting

At long last, the anxious watchers at Puddleby-on-the-Marsh see the signal which means that Doctor Dolittle is on his way back from the moon!

To everyone's surprise, the Doctor arrives on the back of an enormous locust - and he, too, has reached an enormous size through years of living on the moon.

Explainations and thrilling tales of adventure follow the Doctor's return . . .

Dr. Dolittle's Garden

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle's garden is teeming with insects. So the Doctor decides to learn the insect languages and soon hears lots of fascinating stories. None is more fascinating than the tale of the giant moths, and the doctor starts to plan a trip to seek them out. But before he can set off, he is amazed by the arrival of one of these moths. What is the reason for the moth's visit?

Dr. Dolittle In The Moon

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle's travels take him to the Moon! And there's a whole new world of animals and plants to study, with whispering vines and singing forests. But back on Earth, the Doctor's friends wonder if he'll ever come home again . . .

Dr. Dolittle's Zoo

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle's Zoo is an animal home, not a prison, and the animals come and go as they please. But a visitor to the Rat and Mouse Club reveals a mystery at nearby Moorsden Manor, which Tommy Stubbins and the animals are determined to solve.

Dr. Dolittle And The Green Canary

Hugh Lofting

Pipinella, star of Doctor Dolittle's Canary Opera, tells her amazing adventures to the Doctor and his animal friends. Intrigued by the story of her lost master, the animals are all determined to find him.

Dr. Dolittle's Caravan

Hugh Lofting

Doctor Dolittle's Circus is in a bad way and so the Doctor searches for a special new animal to add to the Circus' attractions. His discovery of Pippinella, a canary with the most beautiful voice he's ever heard, seems to solve the problems at first. But Dab-Dab the duck is still unhappy, and longs to return to her home in Puddleby-on-the-Marsh . . .

Dr. Dolittle's Post Office

Hugh Lofting

When Doctor Dolittle discovers that animals from all over the world want to communicate with each other, he has the fantastic idea of setting up the Swallow Mail, the fastest postal service ever.


Hugh Lofting was born in Maidenhead in 1886. As a child he kept a miniature zoo in his mother's linen cupboard and enjoyed making up stories for his family. He fought in the trenches during the First World War and it was whilst he was observing the lack of compassion shown to the horses on the battlefields that the idea for Doctor Dolittle was born, as the main character in letters Hugh sent home from the front to entertain his children. The Story of Doctor Dolittle was published in 1920 and followed by a further 3l3en books. In 1923 Hugh Lofting was awarded the Newbery Medal. He died in 1947.