Max Warp

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BBC Radio 7 - BBC7Doctor Who: Max Warp
Full cast audio drama
Stars Paul McGann and Sheridan Smith
Written by Jonathan Morris
Directed by Barnaby Edwards
Produced by Big Finish Productions
52 minutes

Just heard this on BBC7 and it’s really fun so I thought I’d better post it before it slips away. (Since it already aired last Sunday, oops, it’s only available until November 1, so get cracking!)

Max Warp is a sort of Agatha Christie style murder mystery (eh, well, you’ll see…hear) that crosses paths with Douglas Adams (with one or two direct references as well) and then ends up in Doctor Who’s lap. Terrible sentence I know but where this tale takes place is probably the most fun part.  Here’s the skinny from the Big Finish page:

Broadcasting live from the Sirius Inter-G Cruiser Show. Hosted by outspoken columnist and media personality Geoffrey Vantage, with spaceship-guru-extraordinaire O’Reilley and daredevil pilot Timbo ‘the Ferret’…When a test flight of the new Kith Sunstorm ends in disaster, the Sirius Exhibition Station is plunged into a web of murder and intrigue. Someone – or something – is trying to re-ignite a war between the Varlon Empire and the Kith Oligarchy…only two investigators, the Doctor and Lucie, can hope to uncover the truth.

And so it goes, and I’d love to tell you more about this story but that would be spoiling things.  Listen to Max Warp yourself.  You can do so right now by clicking here!

Posted by RC of RTSF

Dead London

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BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 Doctor Who: Dead London
Full cast audio drama
Airs on consecutive Sundays beginning on Sunday, October 19*
6PM and 12AM GMT
Written by Pat Mills
Produced by Big Finish

Tomorrow, BBC7’s The 7th Dimension presents another popular Big Finish Doctor Who audio drama. This time it’s Dead London starring Paul McGann (reprising his 8th doctor role) and Sheridan Smith. Here’s the word from the Big Finish website:

Someone’s playing with us. Manipulating time and space for their own ends.

The TARDIS lands in London. But which one? The Doctor and Lucie find themselves trapped in a maze of interlocking Londons from Roman times to the present day.

But they are not alone in this labyrinth: a killer is on their trail.

Sounds like dependable ol’ Doctor Who fun-o-tainment, and Big Finish always manages a superb production, so check it out. You can also listen to any BBC7 program for 6 days after it airs, so you never have to miss a show.

* Note: BBC7 has revamped their website. The 7th Dimension webpage no longer exists, and show descriptions no longer mention the number of episodes a series may contain, so watch the schedule page closely.

Posted by RC of RTSF

BBC7: Last Days of Shandakor by Leigh Brackett

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BBC Radio 7 - BBC7 BBC7’s The 7th Dimension program is re-broadcasting an action-packed reading of a Leigh Brackett novelette: The Last Days of Shandakor was originally published in the April 1952 issue of Startling Stories magazine. It was first broadcast on BBC7 back in March 2007.

NOTE: The story will be aired in 2 parts on Wednesday, October 15 and Thursday, October 16 evenings at 6:30pm and 12:30am GMT.

The Last Days Of Shandakor
By Leigh Brackett; Read by Nathan Osgood
Broadcast in 2 parts – Approx. 50 minutes
Broadcaster: BBC 7 / 7th Dimension time slot
Broadcast: Wednesday, October 15 and Thursday, October 16, 2008

An epic science fiction adventure written in Brackett’s classic style in which Mars is portrayed as a dying planet where desperate Earthmen compete with the last Martians races for lost knowledge and hidden power. Follow Jon Ros on his solitary trek as he learns more about Mars’ history and visits a remote Martian city lost in its own memories of the past.

And remember, if you miss it, BBC7 provides a “listen again” feature that keeps programs available for 6 days following the broadcast –like this and this.

Posted by RC of RTSF

Four on Seven

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Four on Seven

BBC Radio 7 - BBC7The 7th Dimension
The Fall of the House of Usher
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
Brave New World

Plus The Scarifyers #2!

The Fall of the House of Usher: Edgar Allan Poe‘s classic tale of gothic horror, a masterpiece of “dramatic irony and structural symbolism” (whew, okay…) and no doubt his most famous work. Suffice it to say that this is one creepy story that seems to exist in some dark phantasmal dream. What is the power that the House has over the Usher Family? Told in 2 parts beginning on Thursday, September 25. Read by Sean Barrett.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow: Washington Irving‘s spooky tale of two rivals and an encounter with a ghastly horseman with…you guessed it…no head. Am I spoiling too much here? A traditional favorite and hey, just in time for Halloween. Oh, by the way, nothing wrong with the movie versions but the original’s a must read…or a must listen, as the case may be. Told in 3 parts beginning on Sunday, September 28. Read by Martin Jarvis.

Brave New World: Aldous Huxley‘s nightmare vision of a dystopian future. Often compared to Orwell’s 1984, critic Neil Postman contrasts the two: What Orwell feared were those who would ban books. What Huxley feared was that there would be no reason to ban a book, for there would be no one who wanted to read one…Orwell feared that what we fear will ruin us. Huxley feared that what we desire will ruin us. Heavy stuff. Told in 10 parts beginning on Monday, September 29. Read by Anton Lesser.

The Scarifyers series continues on BBC 7 with adventure #2, The Devil of Denge Marsh written by Paul Morris. When a government minister melts in Margate, it’s a job for Lionheart and Dunning. Terry Molloy (Dunning) described the series as being like Tin Tin and Dick Barton meet The X-Files. True to form, this one features an encounter with…no, it’s too horrible to tell! Presented in 3 parts beginning on Sunday, September 28. Produced by Cosmic Hobo. Full-cast audioplay. Stars Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy. – Trailer #1Trailer #2

Note that all BBC 7 programs are available to listen to online for six days via the Listen Again feature.

Posted by RC of RTSF

Space Force

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BBC Radio 7 - BBC7

Space Force
Starring Barry Foster, Nigel Stock, Nicky Henson and Tony Osoba
Written by Charles Chilton
6 episodes airing Monday, September 15 through Monday, September 22 during the 7th Dimension time slots*

This is the log of Magnus Carter…

Space Force (1984-85), by Charles Chilton, was intended to be a sequel to his previous space opera, Journey into Space (1953-56, and beyond), itself a popular radio series that spawned four sequels of its own (including Frozen in Time which first aired on BBC 7 last April).

I’ve read slightly differing accounts of why the decision was made to create a new series. I suspect the Beeb just wanted something fresh after JIS had spent nearly 30 years in mothballs, and that Chilton was only happy to oblige…by ripping himself off! The result was a scientifically updated but very similar series, with similar themes in play and the same bridge crew character archetypes and personalities, albeit with names changed. Note though that the character “Chipper” Barnet is referred to as being the grandson of “Lemmy” Barnet, a crew member (and “comic relief”) from JIS, and a character much beloved by fans.

Like JIS, Space Force is episodic space opera in the classic sense but with emphasis on high adventure rather than galactic empires and space war (despite its militaristic sounding title).

The story takes place in the far flung future of 2010 when manned trips to the moon are routine. Captain Saxon Berry is traveling there to assume command of the new spaceship, “Space Force”, when strange events begin to happen that will eventually lead him and his crew across the solar system to a first encounter with…well, I shouldn’t spoil the story. Listen to the show to see how it goes!

I recommend this series (a good 3 out of 4 stars) because it is intelligent, appealing and accessible. –This would describe the work of many 20th century British science fiction writers. They had knack for this.– You don’t have to be a hard sf buff to enjoy it, and if you are, it’s still an engaging story (even though you’ve read, seen or heard most of this before). Just creative and clever enough to keep you interested. Besides, it’s the characters that suck you in and hold this series together, as it should be.

Although it’s not listed today, it’s possible that the sequel, Space Force 2, will follow. This is sort of traditional on BBC 7, to pummel you to death with everything in one run, but we love it don’t we. I’ll be sure to check and post an update about this. (Update: Yepsk. Space Force 2 will follow, beginning on Tuesday, September 23.)

*Meanwhile, use the online Listen Again feature to keep up with each daily episode of Space Force beginning tomorrow.

Posted by RC of RTSF

Quickie Freebie Fun List

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Quickie Freebie Fun List

Hey groovy guys and groovy gals, just in time for the weekend, here’s a quick selection of freebies available for download from BBC 4 and Big Finish. (applause) One, Lost Souls, is a Torchwood spin-off running around 43 minutes. The other, The Coup, is a spin-off from Doctor Who (aren’t they all?) and clocks in at 23 minutes or so. –That means over an hour of full-cast science fiction audio drammer fa nuthin’. Ain’t free stuff great?!

Here’s the scoop direct from the respective websites:

BBC Radio 4 - Torchwood: Lost Souls

FREE Torchwood audio drama: Lost Souls (Available until next Tuesday.)

“The Torchwood Institute was founded by Queen Victoria in 1879 to protect the British Empire against the threat of alien invasion. By 2008, all that remains of the organisation is a small team based in Cardiff. And now, following the tragic deaths of two of their colleagues, the remaining three – Captain Jack Harkness, Gwen Cooper and Ianto Jones – have to protect the human race against another unknown force from the darkness.

“Martha Jones, ex-time traveller and now working as a doctor for a UN task force, has been called to CERN – the world’s largest particle physics laboratory in Geneva – where they’re about to activate the Large Hadron Collider. The LHC is a particle accelerator, which has been built deep underground in a 27 km tunnel under Switzerland and France. Once activated the Collider will fire beams of protons together recreating conditions a billionth of a second after the Big Bang – and potentially allowing the human race a greater insight into what the Universe is made of. But so much could go wrong – it could open a gateway to a parallel dimension, or create a black hole – and now voices from the past are calling out to people and scientists have started to disappear…

“Where have the missing scientists gone? What is the secret of the glowing man? What is lurking in the underground tunnel? And do the dead ever really stay dead?

“Lost Souls stars John Barrowman, Freema Agyeman, Eve Myles, Gareth David-Lloyd, Lucy Montgomery and Stephen Critchlow.”

Written by Joseph Lidster
Produced and Directed by Kate McAll

FREE Big Finish audio drama: U.N.I.T. – The Coup (Available indefinitely.)

Big Finish - UNIT: The Coup“To wet your appetite for the full UNIT mini-series, we are giving away the introductory UNIT story, The Coup, absolutely free for you to download and enjoy! Originally available only as a free CD with Doctor Who Magazine, this drama stars Nicholas Courtney and sets the stage for the new UNIT adventures.

“The UK division of the UNIT prepares to cede its authority to a new organisation… But who is attempting to sabotage the hand-over?

“The Coup stars Nicholas Courtney (reprising his well-known role) as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart with Siri O’Neal, Nicholas Deal and an appearance by David Tennant in the fourth story as Colonel Brimmicombe-Wood.”

Written by Simon Guerrier
Directed by Ian Farrington

Posted by RC of RTSF