Counter-Measures Series 04 boxset by Mark Wright, Cavan Scott, Matt Fitton, John Dorney and Ken Bentley (CD review).

July 28, 2015 | By | Reply More

I have a little thrill of excitement when the music from ‘Counter-Measures’ plays and, once again, we are plunged into the murky world of the paranoid 1960s when the Cold War was at its height. Of course, it’s not the Russians bugging us and this four-parter is aimed squarely in the extra-terrestrial threat department.

CounterMeasuresS4CD

There are four episodes which carry the same story through to a conclusion. It’s difficult to talk about individual stories without spoilers and then I’d have to kill you.

The first, ‘New Horizons’, written by Mark Wright and Cavan Scott, sees the New Horizons Company developing a new form of transport. Group Captain Gilmore (Simon Williams), Allison Williams (Karen Gledhill), Rachel Jensen (Pamela Salem) and Sir Toby Kinsella (Hugh Ross) return, although you might not quite understand what is going on.

Alison has been invited along to observe the industrial process which the scientist Heaton (Richard Hope) is experimenting with. The new energy used could transform the world but an explosion at the site changes everything. Alison takes centre stage and gets to have a little fun but also some more tragedy that befits her character remit.

We might feel that we are on familiar territory here but nothing is as it seems and the consequences of the previous series are waiting in the background to bite us.

There are some excellent temporary characters introduced here including a powerful woman called Bryant (Francesca Hunt) who, if she had a moustache, would twirl it.

It’s a clever little opener and sets up our loved characters but you will need to have listened carefully to the previous series to be up to speed.

The second story, ‘The Keep’ is written by Ken Bentley, who directs the series, is mainly set within the very secure prison developed by Sir Toby. It is impossible to break out of which is awkward when its holds people who are key to saving the world. Yes it’s ‘Prison Break’ with a difference. I was waiting for the motorbike sequence.

Moving along to the thirds instalment and ‘Rise And Shine’, written by John Dorney, finds us with the chickens coming home to roost and there’s something nasty in the woodpile. Ok, you get the picture there is a real and present danger to the world.

Matt Fitton’ ‘Clean Sweep’ is the fourth and final instalment leaving us more bewildered than ever. Considering this is a 1980s invention re-jigged for the post-millennial audience, it has a great feel to it. There is sexual politics, Cold War politics and just plain office politics. It all happens here.

‘Counter-Measures’ is an enjoyable audio with a consummate retro-feel which nevertheless has an updated attitude. The continuing nature of the series is regrettably hindered by its once a year appearance. when perhaps monthly output would be eagerly received. That is, of course, not how this works as costs versus availability of actors, etc that works against this in actuality.

I think the characters are starting to be fleshed out but we are only getting glimpses of their life. The stories are still more important than the people and, while this avoids the trap of melodrama and soap opera, it leaves me feeling frustrated with only the occasional treat of the personal interaction between Gilmore and Rachel.

Good drama is always gratefully received, though, so looking forward to there being more. It’s just so long to wait.

Sue Davies

July 2015

(pub: Big Finish. 5 CDs 300 minutes divided into 4 stories. Price: CD: £30.00 (UK), Download: £25.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-377-1)

cast: Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, Karen Gledhill, Hugh Ross, Philip Pope, Richard Hope, Oscar Pearce, Nigel Carrington, Francesca Hunt, Dominic Rowan, Adrian Lukis), Denise Black, Phillip Bretherton, Alex Ferns and Mary Conlon

check out website: www.bigfinish.com

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Category: Music/Audio, Scifi

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