Synopsis: A research student goes to his tutor in despair, his whole world on the verge of collapse. His project is evolving badly. Should he have tried a more intelligent design? Is it too late for his tutor to save him. Meanwhile … Continue reading
Synopsis: In 1949, John George Haigh, the infamous ‘Vampire killer’, was hanged for the murder of at least six people. Join him in the hangman’s cell as he tells you his story and invites you to relive the seduction, murder … Continue reading
Pulling Faces by Helen Goldwyn is the second in the new Drama Showcase series from Big Finish. These hour-long audio plays feature actors and production personnel familiar from some of the company’s other ranges but are outside of their usual genre boundaries – these are more like BBC 4 Afternoon Plays, only with stronger language and better production values.
It follows on from Katy Manning’s Not A Well Woman and like that production it also began as a one-woman stage show and takes as its subject someone who, with marriages behind them and grown up children no longer to support, looks back on their lives analysing its highs and lows – all on the eve of undergoing surgery. But whereas Manning’s self-penned work was a virtuoso solo piece, this has been turned by Goldwyn, director Nigel Fairs and star Louise Jameson into a full cast comedy drama. Jameson plays Joanne Taylor, a media celeb who once hosted a TV makeover show but who, many years later, is now working on radio being considered by the powers that be to look too old to front a TV show. Continue reading
After the domestic Sturm and drang of Daisy Chain we come back to basics with the next Sapphire & Steel, which above all else sees the very welcome return of David Collings as Silver, the ‘operative’ he played in two of the original TV stories. His flirtatious relationship with Sapphire was a real highlight, both there and in this production, where he also develops a strong attachment to Mary, a young student. This time the setting is the City of London archive where Mary is working to digitise historical records on the same site of a ‘plague pit’, where bodies were buried in the 17th century. It is here that a special manuscript has been found, a diary that our heroes believe may be acting as a trigger for another breakout from Time.
History has the habit of making the unique mundane
After a traditional opening story in The Passenger, this second installment in the revived Sapphire & Steel series proves to be anything but risk averse. The TV version used isolated settings and limbo sets to make the most of the theatricality inherent in its studio-based set-up. This story bravely moves into the realm of the ordinary, quotidian and mundane, with Sapphire warning Steel in mock horror that they are about to enter … suburbia.
Let’s go play happy families.
The new series of Sapphire & Steel gets off with something of a ‘soft launch’ in this debut audio, one that is cast very closely in the mould of the original television series. Specifically it emulates the second TV story, also beginning with a man in late middle-age on a deserted railway platform who is later beset by ghosts from different time periods motivated by a sense of betrayal and injustice. But this is no bad thing as ‘Adventure Two’, to use the home video designation as the stories have no individual onscreen titles, is probably the best of the series and also the best remembered which sensibly helps listeners to get refamiliarised with the general concept and also settle into this new audio incarnation of an old favourite from the late 1970s and early 80s. After a peremptory ‘it’s been a long time’ by way of acknowledgement that a good 20 years have passed since they were last seen in action, the familiar story template eases us smoothly into a new era of paranormal entertainment featuring PJ Hammond’s cult classic duo, elementals who fend off incursions into the present from ‘time’ itself, here presented as a dark, destabilising force. Continue reading