Last year, you may remember Starburst Magazine’s article Books! The Best Weapons in the World! – A Guide to Independent Doctor Who Publishing, in which we took a look at the best of the Doctor Who-related independent publishing sector, a feature that included sample chapters from several of the volumes under discussion. Now that we’re approaching the fiftieth anniversary of the series, what better time to catch up with those companies and find out what they have in store for us in 2013?
To launch this new series of short articles and presentations, however, we’d like to take a look at something just a little bit different. Bafflegab Productions, run by network radio producer Simon Barnard, is an audio production company producing quality original drama and documentaries, and although their Doctor Who connections aren’t necessarily the most obvious, the roll-call of talent both in front of and behind the microphones should be familiar to most fans.
“In the last year we’ve released a couple more Scarifyers stories, a new series called Vince Cosmos, and launched a Scarifyers comic,” says Simon Barnard. “The Horror of Loch Ness and The Thirteen Hallows saw David Warner and Terry Molloy continue their investigations into the weird and unexplained, this time alongside Philip Madoc and Gareth David-Lloyd. Vince Cosmos: Glam Rock Detective was a new series from the pen of David Bowie-obsessed writer Paul Magrs, and starred Green Wing’s Julian Rhind-Tutt as a Bowie-style glam rocker who may not be (or then again, may be) of this Earth.
“In June we're launching the first fruits of our partnership with horror legends Hammer Films. It's a new horror anthology series called Hammer Chillers, six 30-45 minute supernatural tales by some well-known horror names. We've managed to persuade Stephen Gallagher, Christopher Fowler, Stephen Volk, Mark Morris, Paul Magrs and comedian Robin Ince to lend their writing talents to the first series, as well as acting talent including Miles Jupp (Rev), Tony Gardner (Last Tango in Halifax) and Con O’Neill (Telstar). They’re all contemporary horror stories, and they’re shaping up really well – genuinely, they’re quite unnerving to listen to! They’re available on download in the first instance, direct from the Hammer Films website, and then there will be a collected CD set at the end of July.
“Another new audio series we’re releasing later in the year is The Brenda and Effie Mysteries. They’re originally a series of books by the frighteningly talented Paul Magrs, about the Bride of Frankenstein running a B&B in Whitby, and her supernatural adventures with her best friend, Effie (a white witch). To the dismay of Brenda fans, the series came to an end last year with Brenda and Effie Forever! – but these are brand new stories, all set before the events of the first book. The first story is called The Woman in a Black Beehive, another is about the Elephant Man, and the scripts are brilliant, really funny. So there will be four brand new adventures to look forward to.
“There will also be a new Scarifyers story later in the year. For those who haven’t heard it, Scarifyers is a light-hearted horror adventure series set in the 1930s, starring David Warner (Time Bandits, The Omen, er, Hamlet) and Terry Molloy (Doctor Who) as supernatural investigators for top-secret government department MI:13. We’ve made eight stories so far, which listeners may have caught on BBC Radio 4 Extra. The ninth story is something to do with winter, and freemasons, and weird country rituals. And Professor Dunning is nearly sacrificed, again.”
Simon has put together a thirty-minute presentation of Bafflegab’s recent output, exclusive to Starburst.
“We have three excerpts from our audio adventures for you – from Vince Cosmos, the most recent Scarifyers, 'The Thirteen Hallows’, and an exclusive clip from episode 2 of Hammer Chillers – ‘The Fixation’, by Mark Morris.
“Vince Cosmos tells the story from the perspective of Poppy Munday, a fan of Vince who has moved down to London. In this clip, she’s living in a flat with her cousin Trisha and landlady Gilda Fairbanks, and turns on the radio to listen to a Vince concert when something happens… After that, we have the first ten minutes of ‘The Thirteen Hallows’, where Crow and Dunning investigate weird goings-on in Kettering. And finally, ‘The Fixation’ tells the story of suburban busybody Ian Hibbert, who convenes a group of local residents and sets out to clean up his neighbourhood. But someone – or something – doesn’t want him to clean it up… Enjoy!”