Classic TV

Review: Robin of Sherwood – The Knights of the Apocalypse

Robin of Sherwood - Knights of the ApocalypseSo it’s here at last. It may have taken decades, switched medium, needed a Kickstarter campaign to get it going and then switched production company, but Robin of Sherwood – The Knights of the Apocalypse is finally here.

For those who don’t know what Robin of Sherwood is/was, hien? Quoi? C’est incroyable! But here’s my nostalgia-filled remembrance of it to fill you in. In essence, though, it was one of the best UK TV shows of the 1980s giving us the perhaps definitive TV Robin Hood. However, it was cancelled following its third series when the funding ran out.

The feature-length Knights of the Apocalypse was written by the show’s creator, Richard Carpenter, as a continuation of the show, but despite his best efforts, it never got made for TV or a movie. But to raise a bit of cash for charity, Spiteful Puppet Productions (who produce a surprising number of other Robin Hood audio dramas) has managed to get just about all the actors and actresses from the original series to recreate their roles and finally bring Knights of the Apocalypse to life as an audio play. 

Does it capture the original’s strengths and stand as a worthwhile addition to the canon? I’ll let you know after the jump, but here’s a trailer and – ooh! – a news clip.

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – Bat Out of Hull

Brenda and Effie - Bat Out Of HullIt’s time for the return of superstar guest reviewer Jonathan Dennis who once again has enabled me to avoid insanity by taking on some of my workload. This time, following his triumphant success at reviewing the first Brenda and Effie Mystery, The Woman In A Black Beehive, he’s turned his attention to the second part, Bat Out of Hull.

I’ll hand over to Jonathan after the jump, but first, a synopsis!

Plot
Welcome back to Whitby! Come and join Brenda and Effie for a night out at the Christmas Hotel, where a once-famous ventriloquist delights in causing chaos and putting the willies up old women.

Why does long-eared bat puppet Tolstoy seem eerily alive of his own accord? Why is Brenda walking about the harbour at night in only her night-things? And what is the secret of the olde-worlde toyshop tucked up an alley in Robin Hood’s Bay?

There is strangeness occurring at the seaside, and our heroines will be forced, once more, to beat off the forces of darkness before this night is through.

Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax, Dinnerladies) stars in episode 2 of The Brenda and Effie Mysteries. You can buy each release individually, or subscribe to the whole series. Subscribers will also receive a digital copy of Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective by Paul Magrs, plus an exclusive Brenda and Effie art print by artist Paul Hanley.

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – The Woman in a Black Beehive

cover.jpgHello all. Well I may have been a lazy boy over the Christmas period, but that doesn’t mean everyone else has been one, too.

In fact, kind soul, philanthropist and all round nice guy Jonathan Dennis has been doing my work for me, reviewing the latest Bafflegab production: The Brenda and Effie Mysteries – The Woman In A Black Beehive. Bless him.

Bafflegab, of course, are responsible for the likes of the Hammer Chillers and the Vince Cosmos series, and The Woman In a Black Beehive represents the first of a series of Brenda and Effie mysteries, all written by the brilliant Paul Magrs as extensions of his original novel series.

For those who want to know more, here’s the synopsis, and you can read Jonathan’s review after the jump.

Plot
Welcome to the mysterious town of Whitby, where all the monsters and demons of old come to retire and live out the remainder of their spooky days and nights and eat fish and chips on the Seafront.

There’s a strange new landlady in town, opening a B&B by the harbour; a lady with a tall black beehive, nasty scars about her person and a very chequered past. Soon she’s teamed up with part-time witch Effie and together they investigate the mystery of the ghostly singing cat on the rooftops of the old town, and the savage maulings of old ladies in lonely alleyways. Also – there’s something very peculiar about the quite frankly awful oil painting Effie drags home from an auction. Can it really be coming to ghastly life?

Here we are at the very start: about to hear the truth of what happened when Brenda met Effie and hell was unleashed in Whitby for the very first time..!

Paul Magrs’ macabre creations are brought to life by Anne Reid (Last Tango in Halifax) in episode 1 of The Brenda and Effie Mysteries. You can buy each release individually, or subscribe to the whole series. Subscribers will also receive a copy of Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective by Paul Magrs, plus other subscriber bonuses.

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: Hammer Chillers – season 1

Hammer ChillersA little while ago, Bafflegab Productions announced the launch of Hammer Chillers, a series of weekly audio horror plays produced in conjunction with Hammer. Each week, a new play – lovingly priced at a mere £2.99 per halfish-hour episode – was released. The authors were pretty impressive, too, with Stephen Gallagher (Eleventh Hour), Stephen Volk (Ghostwatch), Paul Magrs (Vince Cosmos) and comedian Robin Ince in the line-up.

But you know me. Finding the time to listen to all these and write a review of them. Surely that would be impossible?

Well it’s not, and now that all six episodes have been made available and are now available to buy en masse as a download or on CD come next Friday, it’s time to review all of them: the good, the bad and the ugly.

Follow me after the jump…

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Audio and radio play reviews

Review: Hammer Chillers – The Box

Hammer ChillersSo 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

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