Counter-Measures is another addition to Big Finish’s celebration of great characters and great acting
Details of the writers of forthcoming second series – again, to be available as a CD box set and download – have now been released. I’m pleased to see Matt Fitton, author of what I felt to be the strongest story of the first series, return – but even happier that Mark Wright and Cavan Scott (my editors for the sole contribution I’ve made to the Big Finish universe) are also contributing a story.
The full roster of stories in the second season is:
Manhunt by Matt Fitton
The Fifth Citadel by James Goss
Peshka by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright
Sins of the Fathers by John Dorney
Pre-orders (£25 for download, £30 for CD) are now being taken at bigfinish.com.
The naming of Mrs Gillyflower’s match factory as ‘Sweetville’ invites comparison with Bournville, the community created by George and Richard Cadbury to house the workers and families of their chocolate factory when production moved out of Birmingham to a new greenfield site.
As it is, it is more a pastiche of the whole ‘model village’ movement, in which industrialists whose new, heavily industrialised factories constructed whole townships for the required large workforce and their families, on philanthropic lines infused by the owners’ Christian values. Bournville is, of course, one such community, formed by the Quaker Cadbury brothers. Sweetville’s Yorkshire location more closely invites comparison with Saltaire, founded by Sir Titus Salt and now a World Heritage site.
Mind you, I did for one moment wonder whether the fuchsia-coloured liquid that Sweetville’s inhabitants were being doused in was fondant, and that Mr Sweet would turn out to be The Kandyman from 1988’s The Happiness Patrol…
2. Special stuff
Maybe it’s just the camp sendup of the gothic, maybe it’s the Yorkshire accents – but this week’s episode felt like it was a (family friendly) sibling to The League of Gentlemen. The mortuary attendant, with his leering tone and wandering tongue, could easily have been a Steve Pemberton creation.
Last night was good fun, as I joined with fellow bloggers Luke, Alison, Ian and Havana at The Actor Works in Wapping to select four 15-minute plays to go forward to October’s Off Cut Festival.
The Off Cut script reading panel had already decided upon 24 such plays to go forward to October’s festival. We were going to listen to readings of another eight, and collectively would decide on the final four scripts that would make up the 28 Off Cut Festival 2011 submissions. Or, in festival organiser Daniel Brennan’s words:
The reading panel selects 32 plays, all of which they would be happy to have in the festival. From that 32, 24 are put into four groups to best reflect the diversity of writing style/genre/tone/casting in order to present the most exciting, interesting and varied programme for the audience. The remaining eight are presented in a rehearsed reading to a panel of eminent theatre bloggers, who then choose their favourite four. Those plays will join the original 24; one in each group.
(I know. I can’t believe he thought I was eminent either.)
Over on TV Today, I’ve penned some inadequate words about the loss of Elisabeth Sladen, and in particular the character of Sarah Jane Smith. A full Stage obituary will be published soon, and that will include more details about her long theatre career as well as her record-breaking role as Sarah Jane Smith, which she played from 1973 onwards, in Doctor Who, K9 and Company and The Sarah Jane Adventures.
I had the privilege of meeting Elisabeth a few times, starting at The Stage New Year party in 2008 and several CBBC events after that. Even though she never got my name quite right (at one point I did consider changing my name to ‘Steve’, as it would be easier than contradicting her), she was always full of smiles and greeted everyone with genuine warmth.
Lis, it was a pleasure and a privilege to have known you. My thoughts are with Brian and Sadie at this time.