So here's something interesting and new. Bafflegab Productions, which recently launched the Vince Cosmos audio play series, has developed a new series of horror plays for Hammer, which feature the likes of Stephens Gallagher and Volk. Here's a press release:
Hammer has announced a partnership with audio specialist Bafflegab Productions to launch 'Hammer Chillers', a series of original audio dramas, which will be available as six weekly downloadable episodes from June 2013.
Continuing Hammer's expansion into the development of original content, the first series of the all-new material comes from a host of acclaimed writers including Stephen Volk (The Awakening), Stephen Gallagher (ITV's Eleventh Hour), Doctor Who and young adult novelist Paul Magrs, stand-up comedian and writer Robin Ince and award-winning horror novelists Christopher Fowler and Mark Morris.
Episodes are available to pre-order now at www.hammerchillers.com ahead of the 7th June release and are priced at £2.99 per episode. From the end of July, fans can also download the entire series as a package and order the series on CD which will include bonus material.
Writer Stephen Volk said: “Hammer films have been a massive influence on my writing from the days when I sneaked into the White Palace cinema in my home town of Pontypridd to see the likes of The Devil Rides Out and The Vampire Lovers. Now to be writing an audio drama under the Hammer banner is a dream (or nightmare!) come true."
Simon Oakes, CEO and President of Hammer Films and vice-chairman of Exclusive Media commented: "Hammer Chillers are a fantastic addition to the range of quality original content that we strive to produce and we're excited to welcome such celebrated authors to the Hammer family."
Bafflegab Productions Executive Producer Simon Barnard added: "Hammer Chillers will be every bit as terrifying as their celebrated cinematic counterparts. We are proud to partner with Hammer and hope that our tales take listeners on supernatural journeys that will make them afraid to turn off the lights afterwards."
You may have noticed that because I'm operating at my normal speed, that means the first episode, The Box, is already available to download. Nevertheless, review after the jump
My lovely and esteemed wife has recently introduced me to the joys of Cabin Pressure, a Radio 4 comedy series set aboard the fictitious MJN (My Jet Now) Air, a tiny little outfit run by the crabby Carolyn Knapp-Shappey (Stephanie Cole from Waiting for God) that has only two pilots - the by-the-book captain Martin Crieff (Benedict Cumberbatch from Sherlock, Star Trek et al) and the ever-superior first officer Douglas Richardson (Roger Allam from The Thick Of It and Endeavour) - and an air steward, Cole's simple but eternally upbeat son Arthur (John Finnemore, who also writes the show).
Featuring guest stars including John Sessions, Anthony Head (playing the fabulously named Hercules Shipwright), Prunella Scales and Alison Steadman, it's an award-winning comedy with surprising depths that largely revolves around the games the pilots play to stave off boredom on long flights, the schemes they need to concoct to deal with difficult customers, mechanics and other airlines, and the tensions between Crieff and Richardson, Crieff always wanting to have been a pilot but having no real aptitude, while Richardson has never found anything hard but after a distinguished career, now finds himself first officer to Crieff at MJN thanks to his crossing certain legal lines at his previous job.
As well as being very funny, well written and well acted, it's also capable of pathos and drama, so I recommend you catch up as best you can via Amazon, iTunes or other avenues.
The show is also a creator of some great memes. Here, for example, is the birth of the 'Hey, Chief ' meme, which my wife and I find a constant source of hilarity when we use it on each other (yes, we're a fun pair):
If you're a Cabin Pressure fan already, though, please enjoy the following encapsulation of a whole bunch of Cabin Pressure memes in a manner similar to the current Nikon ads. Do you recognise them all?
Paul Magrs is a very clever chap. He's a lecturer in creative writing, and has written numerous books and audio plays. Not all of them are about Doctor Who, but quite a lot of them are. Indeed, he's written a few Big Finish Doctor Who audio plays, including my favourite ever, the insanely clever Ringpullworld. He was even the author who managed to lure Tom Baker back to Doctor Who for a series of BBC audio plays, starting with The Hornets' Nest.
Largely, if Magrs has a theme, it's to deconstruct Doctor Who, not just as a show but how it's written. Indeed, his most famous creation is Iris Wildthyme, a perpetually drunk, lying, sexually active Time Lady (the clue is in the name) with her own range of books from Obverse Books and a range of Big Finish audio plays that stars former Doctor Who companion Katy Manning. Iris, who travels the universe in a double-decker bus with a talking panda for a companion, originally started as a way to subvert Doctor Who, the Doctor and science-fiction conventions - she did what the Doctor doesn't and that illuminated the nature of the Doctor in various ways.
All this is by way of introduction to Magrs' latest creations, 70s glam rock star Vince Cosmos and his biggest fan Poppy Munday, who feature in a new series of audio plays from Bafflegab Productions, which is best known for producing The Scarifyers on BBC Radio 4 Extra. Starring Julian Rhind-Tutt of Green Wing, Hippies et al, Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective is an origin story that sees Munday moving down to London from Sunderland and meeting her idol, Vince Cosmos who for some reason seems to think the Martians are intent on invading the Earth. Is he mad? Will the Martians, if they exist be stopped? And will Munday manage to get her end away with Cosmos before the end of the play?
Sound a bit like it might be subverting and deconstructing Doctor Who? You'd not be wrong.
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I'm Rob Buckley, a freelance journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of, although you might have heard me on Radio 5 Live's Saturday Edition. I've edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for trade magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider and the equally short-lived Death Ray and Filmstar magazines; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it "web site for urban hedonists" The Tribe. I'm freelance now and have contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network and TV Scoop.