The Prisoner CastingBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 13 October 2015 - Reported by Marcus

The Prisoner 1 (Credit: BIg Finish)Big Finish has  confirmed that actor Mark Elstob has been cast in the leading role of Number Six in its brand new audio revival of The Prisoner.

The new production is based on the highly influential 1967-’68 ITV series, which starred Patrick McGoohan as a former spy imprisoned in the mysterious ‘Village’. Desperate to learn his secrets, the Village’s authorities used ever more ingenious methods to bend Number Six to their will — including the iconic ‘Rover’, a menacing, howling ball-like object.

Elstob  is known for his many stage appearances, including Present Laughter, Neville’s Island, The Importance of Being Earnest, Sir Peter Hall’s Hamlet and Steven Berkoff’s Salome, as well as for his year in Emmerdale as Andrew Fraser. He was chosen for the part of Number Six after an extensive search by writer/director and producer Nicholas Briggs.

I knew, of course, that the casting of Number Six was pivotal. Patrick McGoohan was the driving force of the original series, both on and off-screen. The new central performance would have to be every bit as powerful in its own way. I did a lot of searching and listening to clips and showreels  I had meetings, I spoke to actors and agents. I looked further and wider than I’d ever done for any Big Finish casting. And then I realised that I’d worked with the ideal person, long, long ago. An actor who was a brilliant, powerful leading man — Mark Elstob. There was one other key ingredient I was looking for. Someone for whom doing The Prisoner would mean something. Someone who knew the series. I didn’t know Mark was a fan of The Prisoner, but I knew he was a fan of Doctor Who, so I harboured a hope that, as someone interested in cult TV, he’d at least have heard of The Prisoner. As luck would have it, he is as nuts about the series as I am. We had a meeting — and there, sitting in front of me was my new Number Six. I was certain

Mark Elstob said 

Patrick MacGoohan’s The Prisoner is a bona fide classic, representing a high watermark of television. In the hierarchy of British TV fantasy, Number Six has a status perhaps matched only by Quatermass and Doctor Who. For me personally, to play this part is more than just a great job for an actor, it is the stuff of which a fan’s dreams are made. Thank you, Big Finish! 

The administrative head of ‘The Village’ is Number Two, and throughout the original series Number Six found himself pitted against a series of different authority figures in this role. The audio series follows the same template, with different actors appearing in the part. John Standing (V for Vendetta, The Elephant Man, 8 ½ Women), Celia Imrie (Bridget Jones, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Highlander), Ramon Tikaram (This Life, Fortitude, Stella, Man Down) and Michael Cochrane (Sharpe, The Archers, The Iron Lady) will each appear as Number Two, subjecting Number Six to a variety of ordeals.

Nicholas Briggs said

I remember explaining to Celia Imrie that they used to hire whichever marvellous, fruity actor was available to play Number Two for each episode, For The Prisoner: Volume 1, I opted to echo this policy, dipping into the impressive back-catalogue of actors Big Finish has been lucky enough to work with. And I can confirm that they are all not only fruity and marvellous, but by turns terrifying and mesmerising.

Other inhabitants of the Village include Sara Powell as Number Nine, Kristina Buikaite as Number Eight and Jez Fielder as Number 17 — with Helen Goldwyn as the Village Voice, Jim Barclay as Control and Barnaby Edwards as Number Two’s diminutive Butler. Sarah Mowat plays the role of Zero-Six-Two, a former accomplice of Number Six.

The Prisoner: Volume 1 is released in January 2016.

FILTER: - Big Finish

Big Finish licence for The Avengers extendedBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 12 March 2014 - Reported by Marcus
Big Finish Productions has signed an extended licence with STUDIOCANAL to produce full cast audio productions of the entire first season of the classic TV series The Avengers.

The Avengers first launched in 1961, and starred Ian Hendry as Dr David Keel and Patrick Macnee as the elusive and suave John Steed. Beginning with the murder of Keel’s fiancée, and his sworn intent to avenge her death, that first year comprised 26 episodes. Sadly, only two of them exist in their entirety as film prints (Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners), while just the first act remains of the opening episode, Hot Snow.

Box Set One of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes, starring Anthony Howell as Dr Keel and Julian Wadham as Steed, is available now and has received much acclaim. It comprises the episodes Hot Snow, Brought to Book, Square Root of Evil and One for the Mortuary.

SFX Magazine
A minor triumph

Starburst Magazine
If you were ever a fan of the TV series, are interested in the early 1960s or just want a few hours of cracking drama to listen to, this is a must buy.

Sci-Fi Bulletin
A great success: Howell and Wadham work very well together as Keel and Steed; the scripts have been brought to life as authentically as possible, the music feels like the scores from 1961… It’s reawakened a love for The Avengers - and now I’ve got 139 other episodes on the way…!
In total, seven box sets of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes will now be released at six monthly intervals until January 2017. All of the 24 missing episodes will now be recreated from surviving scripts and storylines, while both Girl on the Trapeze and The Frighteners will be remade on audio to complete the series.

The director is Ken Bentley, the script editor is John Dorney and the producer is David Richardson. The executive producers are Nicholas Briggs and Jason Haigh-Ellery.

All surviving episodes of The Avengers Series 1-6 are available on DVD from STUDIOCANAL.

FILTER: - Big Finish

12 days of Big-Finish-masBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 25 December 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Big Finish are running a number of special offers over the next twelve days as part of the festive celebrations, selected from a many of their range of series.

Today's offering is the Dark Shadows story, A Collinwood Christmas, which is available to download at a special price.

Dark Shadows: A Collinwood Christmas (Credit: Big Finish)A Collinwood Christmas
Starring Jamison Selby as Jamison Collins, and Lizzie Hopley as Ivanka Romano

“I am your worst nightmare, Jamison Collins, for I am the woman who will make you live."

Jamison Collins is a lost and broken man. His wife has died, leaving him to bring up his children, Roger and Elizabeth, alone.

Ivanka Romano lives in the Old House on the Collinwood estate. Abandoned by her gypsy tribe, she is also alone.

But, on this dark and stormy night, ghosts from the past are returning. Ghosts from the past are threatening to end the lives of these lost and broken people.

It's Christmas Eve but the only present that the children of Collinwood will receive is death...

FILTER: - Special Offers - Big Finish

Lead Actors Revealed For Missing Avengers Episodes RemakeBookmark and Share

Friday, 26 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The actors playing the characters of Dr David Keel and John Steed in an audio re-creation of missing episodes from the first season of The Avengers were revealed today.

Anthony Howell
has been cast as Keel while Julian Wadham will play his sidekick Steed for the three volumes comprising 12 episodes. Only two of the season's 26 episodes exist in their entirety, with just 20 minutes of the first episode - Hot Snow - having survived as well.

Big Finish has signed a licensing deal with Studio Canal to produce full-cast audio dramas of a dozen of the missing episodes, including a full re-creation of Hot Snow.

Howell is probably best-known for his role as Sgt Paul Milner in 21 episodes of the ITV detective drama series Foyle's War, and he has recently filmed for the American series Dracula. His other work includes Dirk Gently - based on the books by Douglas Adams - and Dungeons and Dragons: The Book of Vile Darkness.

Wadham, meanwhile, can count Downton Abbey, Midsomer Murders, Middlemarch, and Blind Justice among his TV pedigree. He has also appeared in the films The Iron Lady (as Francis Pym), War Horse, Maurice, The English Patient, The Madness of King George, and Exorcist: The Beginning.

Volume 1 of The Avengers: The Lost Episodes will be released in January 2014, with Volumes 2 and 3 following in July 2014 and January 2015 respectively.

FILTER: - Big Finish - Audio

Survivors - The Audio SeriesBookmark and Share

Tuesday, 9 July 2013 - Reported by Chuck Foster
Survivors - Big Finish (Credit: Big Finish)

Big Finish have announced an audio series based upon the classic television series Survivors, originally devised and written by Terry Nation.

Terry Nation’s classic drama comes to Big Finish

Big Finish has signed a licence with the estate of the acclaimed writer Terry Nation to make the 1970s post-apocalyptic drama Survivors on audio. The series ran for three seasons between 1975-77 and told the story of a small group of people who survive a plague that wipes out most of the world’s population.

Producer David Richardson says:
Survivors made a huge impact on me when I first saw it – as it did on many people of my generation. It’s long been a dream of mine to bring it back on audio, exploring the human drama and the many challenges in a world where the
majority of people have died and most technology is useless.
Executive producer Jason Haigh-Ellery adds:
I am very proud to have another Terry Nation series associated with Big Finish. His influence on British television in the 60s and 70s was massive and I grew up knowing that any show with his name on it was going to be both exciting and thought-provoking. Survivors is one of the seminal series of the 70's, with themes that have been visited again and again over the years, most recently by series such as The Walking Dead. We all look forward to working on what we know will be a fantastic new audio series for Big Finish.
Executive producer Nicholas Briggs:
Over the years, so many people have asked us about the possibility of doing Survivors on audio, and now, with the right team in place and agreements signed, we can finally deliver yet another series that our loyal listeners have been waiting for. My early teens were haunted by Terry Nation's stark depiction of a world decimated by a virus, and I'm looking forward to being terrified all over again!

Like Nation’s TV show and novel of the same name, the audio series will begin with the terror and torment as a global pandemic breaks out, and gradually the very fabric of society falls apart. These terrible events will be told through the eyes of a handful of characters whose lives are changed forever...

A number of actors from the original TV series Survivors will be reprising their characters for the audios. These will be announced once recording commences later in the summer. Terry Nation’s impact on British culture is beyond measure – he famously created the Daleks for Doctor Who (for which he wrote 66 episodes), devised the enduringly popular Science Fiction series Blake’s 7, wrote the much-loved children’s novel Rebecca’s World, and contributed acclaimed scripts to successful series including The Avengers, The Protectors, The Persuaders and The Champions.

FILTER: - Big Finish - Audio

Original Blake's 7 Cast Reunite For More Audio DramasBookmark and Share

Monday, 8 July 2013 - Reported by John Bowman
The surviving original TV cast of Blake's 7 are being brought back together again in six new audio plays.

The Big Finish dramas will launch in January 2014 with Fractures by Justin Richards, in which an escape from a Federation pursuit ship leaves the crew of the Liberator licking their wounds. As the dust settles, realisation gradually dawns that the trust and camaraderie that has built up between them is dissolving - and one of the crew is working against the rest.

The audios see the return of Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, Paul Darrow as Kerr Avon, Michael Keating as Vila Restal, Sally Knyvette as Jenna Stannis, Jan Chappell as Cally, and Brian Croucher as Travis, while Alistair Lock voices the computers Zen and Orac.

The writers for the rest of the season are Andrew Smith, Marc Platt, Peter Anghelides, Mark Wright, and Cavan Scott.

The news follows the release earlier this year of Anghelides' audio drama Warship, which first saw the original surviving Liberator team reunited. David Jackson, who played crew member Olag Gan, died in 2005, while Peter Tuddenham - the voice of Zen and Orac on TV - died two years later.

Producer David Richardson said:
I was delighted that our first full-cast Blake's 7 audio, Warship, received such glowing reviews and a rapturous reception. I'm therefore thrilled that we're able to continue with more full-cast stories, which are set during the second season of the TV show, as a worrying revelation forces Blake to interrupt his search for the Federation control centre Star One.
The series is being released in a licence deal with B7 Media, and Andrew Mark Sewell, the executive producer of B7 Media, said:
It's great to be working with Big Finish on more full-cast Blake's 7 stories. Given this year marks the 35th anniversary since the TV series first aired, these epic-sounding audio adventures are a great way for fans to celebrate Blake's 7 enduring legacy.
After Fractures comes out, the other stories - whose titles are yet to be revealed - will be released monthly until June.

The TV series, created by Terry Nation, ran on BBC1 between 1978 and 1981.

FILTER: - Big Finish - Blake's 7 - Audio