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“The Scarifyers”, and other Audio Adventures

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#1 · Posted: 14 Feb 2012 00:20
Since Christmas I've been listening to the wonderful Scarifyers on BBC Radio 4Extra, and catching up on past stories through itunes.

Described as "Tintin, but with the lights out" The Scarifyers are a series of audio adventures of supernatural intrigue set in 1930s Britain by Simon Barnard and Paul Morris.
They star Terry Molloy as terrible ghost story writer Professor Dunning, and the late great Nicholas Courtney (best known as the Brigadier from Doctor Who) as Detective Inspector Lionheart.
After their first adventure-The Nazad Conspiracy- both are recruited into the newly formed secret government organisation MI13, and go off in a series of spooky, but funny, adventures.

They include:

The Devil of Denge Marsh
For King and Country
The Curse of the Black Comet (guest starring Brian Blessed)
The Secret Weapon of Doom (guest starring Leslie Phillips and Nigel Havers)

The Magic Circle is the latest tale, and is an unashamedly touching tribute to Nicholas Courtney and his character Lionheart- whose disappearance is the starting point of the story.
It also introduces David Warner as retired police officer Harry 'Thumper' Crow who helps Dunning solve the case, and becomes MI13s newest recruit.

Its funny- as all the Scarifyers stories are, but (as someone who also adored the UNIT stories with the Brig in Doctor Who) its extremely moving.

The final episode is on Radio 4 Extra next Sunday, and you can listen again to episode 3 on iplayer.
#2 · Posted: 14 Feb 2012 15:17 · Edited by: jock123
I agree entirely - The Scarifyers has been a personal favourite for many years, and it’s somewhat surprising to me that they haven’t been discussed here before.
For a start, the cover art for the series has been provided by Garen Ewing, our very own Tybaltstone, who in addition to the brilliant The Rainbow Orchid comic provided us with the Tintinologist.org logo.

The stories do vary slightly in quality, but are always entertaining; there are are also some sly impersonations thrown in for added fan fun – the presentation of Aleister Crowley, the famous occultist, as if played by Kenneth Williams doing his “snide” voice, is inspired, as are pseudo-appearances by characters one might take to be the Vicar and Verger from Dad’s Army.

Well worth chasing up; there are some free to download short adventures and back-ground items to be found on the Cosmic Hobo Productions web-site, if you want to get a taste of the series. You can also buy the CDs or downloads while you are there!
#3 · Posted: 14 Feb 2012 16:06
I should have mentioned Garen Ewing last night- sorry about that- especially since I think it'd be great if they commissioned him to illustrate them as graphic novels as well. Perfect! Like an English Blake and Mortimer!

Curse of the Black Comet is my favourite so far, next to Magic Circle. Brian Blessed is hilarious- as are his outtakes and behind the scenes stuff which you can hear on the website (though bear in mind it gets more than a bit rude!)
#4 · Posted: 14 Feb 2012 19:36 · Edited by: jock123
I think it'd be great if they commissioned him to illustrate them as graphic novels as well.

Sadly that would give him less time to work on The Adventures of Julius Chancer, otherwise I might agree…! ;-)
Brian Blessed is hilarious

I’d not imagined that it could be possible to make Brian Blessed any larger or louder than he usually is – but they succeeded!

I like The Devil of Denge Marsh most of the full-scale adventures, but think Mr Crowley’s Christmas is a little gem…
#5 · Posted: 22 Feb 2012 20:50 · Edited by: Sapristi
"Brussel sprouts... how perfectly fiendish!" ;)

Also kudos to Gabriel Woolf doing a quick cameo there too- with his scary Sutekh voice from Doctor Who and the Pyramids of Mars.

Also, if you have itunes and search "The Scarifyers" as well as the stories, in the podcast section theres an interview with Simon Barnard by the Design Critique podcast team where they talk for about an hour about how the stories are created, the music, and Garens artwork.
#6 · Posted: 20 Mar 2012 23:53
While mooching about on twitter waiting for the Tintin DVD extravaganza, I found Cosmic Hobo's page that says the newest installment: "The Horror Of Loch Ness" will be released on the 4th of June!
#7 · Posted: 21 Mar 2012 08:32 · Edited by: jock123
Oh, that’s good news!

While your waiting, if you like The Scarifyers, might I draw your attention to Big Finish’s excellent series of audio-dramas, Jago & Lightfoot: Investigators of Infernal Incidents?

Featuring possibly the two best-ever guest characters from a Doctor Who story (1977’s The Talons of Weng-Chiang), it continues their adventures in a series of truly original and well-made plays, featuring several of the the original cast (not least the marvellous Messrs. Christopher Benjamin and Trevor Baxter as the titular pair, sounding uncannily not a day older than they did back then.

They were introduced again in a stand-alone adventure, then further tales have been issued in boxed-sets of four stories at a time, with set four due in April. Well worth getting!
#8 · Posted: 21 Mar 2012 20:46
I've watched The Talons of Weng Chiang a few times (loved the nod to it in The Magic Circle!) and have heard good things about the Jago and Litefoot series through the Scarifyers blog, so it is about time I go and buy one box set at least.

Thanks for the recommendation!
#9 · Posted: 27 Mar 2012 15:57
Thanks for the recommendation!

You are very welcome!

I’ve also just come across some interesting free to download dramas from The Wireless Theatre Company, which they have made available.

I’ve been listening to their on-going adventure The Strange Case of Springheel’d Jack, which is a supernatural Victorian thriller, and it’s very good; and to make it even more appealing, the baddie is played by Julian Glover – Scaroth the Jaggaroth from Doctor Who’s City of Death, and the villain Donovan in The Last Crusade.

There are three parts up now, with another promised at the end of episode 3…
#10 · Posted: 3 Apr 2012 19:47 · Edited by: Sapristi
I haven't listened yet to the Wireless Theatre stuff yet, but I come bringing news!

The Scarifyers website has been updated to include "The Horror of Loch Ness- featuring the story synopsis and fantastic CD cover art by Garen Ewing.

Its page is here: http://www.cosmichobo.com/scarifyers/The-Horror-of-Loch-Ness/

As well as the regular cast, it also stars the late Philip Madoc- who sadly died a few weeks ago. He was Brother Cadfael in the BBC radio plays, and featured many times in the old Doctor Who series- perhaps most memorably as Solon in "The Brain of Morbius."
He also memorably guest starred in Dads Army as the U-boat captain in one of its funniest and most famous scenes.

Also, They have started recording the next Scarifyers story "The Thirteen Hallows" and it features Gareth-David-Lloyd who played self confessed Tintin fan Ianto Jones in Torchwood. http://www.cosmichobo.com/news/

Just to let you know Jock- I've started listening to Jago and Litefoot- and yes, it is excellent! Really happy for Christopher Benjamin, Trevor Baxter, and all involved.
I've found that you can also get them as individual stories on itunes which suits me more as I already have an account there.

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