The Confessions Of Dorian Gray Series Three (CD review).

November 27, 2014 | By | Reply More

The new super-sized series, ‘The Confessions Of Dorian Grey Series Three’ comprises 8 half hour episodes all presented in a set with the complete music suites and behind the scenes extras. Alexander Vlahos returns as the ever living lad, Dorian Gray, who has something nasty in his attic. The immoral immortal continues in his quest to live life without consequences.

ConfessionsOfDorianGrayV3-CD

3.1: Blank Canvas by James Goss

cast: Sophie Wu, Edward Harrison and Alex Jordan with Bernard Holley

The house in Mayfair is rotting away and it’s been empty for a long time. There are no pictures in this mansion. There is no electricity but the phone is ringing and Dorian Gray offers them the chance to leave a message and if they are ‘interesting’ he will call them back. Enter three late night revellers, fresh from the pub…

This is quite the horror story and an amazing way to kick off the series. It will leave you very conflicted about Dorian.

3.2: Needle Track by David Llewellyn

cast: David Blackwell with Barnaby Edwards and Andrew Pepper

Dorian needs funds so he goes to his fund manager and maybe friend, Simon Darlow (David Blackwell), who is based at the stunning new building in the city of London, the Needle. But trouble follows Dorian wherever he goes and something is stirring in the big city. It’s going to be a long night.

Another kicker this one manages to incorporate some spooky horror and social comment into a very short but chilling story.

3.3: We Are Everywhere by Roy Gill

cast: Blake Ritson

The trouble with being ageless is that someone might decide it would be fun to kill you again and again. Dorian Gray is trapped in a never ending cycle of violence until he decides to find out the truth about his serial killer.

This is an odd one and if you’ve been watching ‘Forever’ on Sky One you will be more than a little taken by the coincidence of plot line. I wasn’t never clear on what happened to Dorian and if he could die at all. So know we know he can, again and again. This is gruesome indeed and I’m relieved it’s on audio only. It might also put you off going to Coffee Shops that write your name on the cup.

3.4: Echoes by Gary Russell

cast: Terry Molloy, Nicola Bryant and Toby Longworth

After an unexpected reprieve, Dorian Gray goes for a tube journey which results in an unexpected encounter. It seems his unwelcome and mysterious return is stirring up some things in London’s netherworld.

This episode feels like more like filler between big ideas and I wasn’t sure what we got at the end of it. In the extras, it tells us it is meant as a change of pace which is fine but I also wanted to place into the context of the whole series. There are still some sterling moments of drama and this almost sits as a standalone in the middle of the story arc which is gradually revealing itself. It’s also good to get Terry Molloy and Nicola Bryant from ‘Docto Who ‘into the mix.

Now I know why I don’t like taking the tube.

3.5: Pandora by Xanna Eve Chown

cast: Annette Badland and Christopher Allen

When Dorian Gray visits a tarot reader, he receives a message he thought would never come. This kicks off some more highly emotional story that brings back some unexpected characters.

There are lovely moments of drama but also funny moments of pathos with the rather ordinary tarot reader in a cardigan versus the deep and dark Dorian. Annette Badland is, of course, fantastic and memorable in her role as ‘Pandora’.

3.6: Heart And Soul by Cavan Scott

cast: Sean Biggerstaff and Laura Doddington

Dorian Gray doesn’t want to know about life but it continues to haunt him anyway. A visit to a circus makes him realise something about himself-he wants to live.

This is another gruesome episode which the writers love and is excellently realised by the sound designer Neil Gardener. Truly heart-wrenching.

3.7: Displacement Activity by Scott Handcock

cast: Tracey Childs

Dorian Gray goes with the mysterious Victoria Lowell (Tracey Childs) to investigate an artefact that has turned up at an art gallery. Can this offer him a clue to his mysterious revival?

A change of pace again brings us to respectability and canapés. These things never end well.

3.8: The Darkest Hour by Scott Handcock

cast: Tracey Childs, Miles Richardson and Hugh Skinner

With arcane rituals in the attic, we now know that it’s going a bit downhill for our hero. All things begin to pop into and out of place as Dorian Gray faces his greatest challenge.

Ooh…er, this one is really going for it on the horror stakes and the sound effects (er, thanks, I think, Neil). There is a significant increase in the body count and some emotional scenes. I was alternating between the sick bag and the tissues on this one.

There you have it a story in eight movements and as this is a complete set so no pesky waiting for the weekly downloads which is how the lovely Dorian started off. The boy’s come a long way and we see the story now from the outside with other actors and no narration. There’s a great extra hour of download of the ‘Behind The Scenes’ moments and some lovely explanation of how the stories were developed from all the writers, actors and the production team.

The music for this series has been created by Ioan Morris and Rhys Downing and it is provided in full to enjoy on its own. I enjoyed its mournful sense of loss and longing alongside the tropes of horror and suspense. I’m not a great noticer of music but this has been completely crafted to get the feel of the stories and could be picked up and popped on a disc for some in car entertainment.

Scott Handcock has produced a little cracker of a show here and, if some of the threads were wound a little too tightly and some felt conveniently unexplained, I was still quite content with the resulting four hour drama. They have in the Moffat sense left some things hanging and it certainly looks like there will be another series. This could run and run. I hate to say this because I love these audios but these would make bloody good telly. There I’ve said it and I guess that is the power of the audio that it leaves such an amazing impression afterwards. The character of Dorian Gray with his conflicting feelings about how he should approach dealing with his ever extended life is a superb one. Is he a monster or simply a human placed in an impossible position? Who knows and maybe Series 4 will start to tell us.

Sue Davies

November 2014

(pub: Big Finish. 5 CDs 300 minutes 80 * 30 minute stories. Price: CD: £20.00 (UK), Download: £18.00 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-384-9)

check out website: www.bigfinish.com

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Category: Horror, Music/Audio

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