Review: Counter-Measures Series 2 / Authors: Matt Fitton, James Goss, Cavan Scott, Mark Wright, John Dorney / Publisher: Big Finish / Starring: Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, Karen Gledhill, Hugh Ross, Lucy Fleming, Blake Ritson, Gemma Whelan, Celia Imri, Tom Price, Philip Pope / Release Date: Out Now
Counter-Measures is a Big Finish series set in the early '60s, focusing on a small team consisting of Group Captain Gilmore (Williams), scientists Rachel Jensen (Salem) and Alison Williams (Gledhill) reporting to the decidedly shady Sir Tobias Kinsella (Ross). This is the second series for this group who originally appeared in the 1988 Doctor Who story Remembrance of the Daleks. Think The Avengers meets Quatermass.
The box set is comprised of four stories. Manhunt by Matt Fitton starts the series with a tale of genetic manipulation, family relationships and has Gilmore on the run accused of murder! The Fifth Citadel by James Goss gives us the tale of a secret bunker beneath London and radiation poisoning. A visit to an old friend of Sir Toby’s leads to complications as people start falling ill all around Holborn. Peshka by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright takes the team overseas to a chess tournament where they must help a Russian defector. Little do they know of the threat to their own survival as riots take over the streets. Lastly, Sins of the Fathers by John Dorney (who is also series script editor) ties up the loose ends left by Manhunt and things come to a desperate conclusion as the team are forced to go against Sir Toby’s direct orders.
In a departure from Series 1, which focused on technology (often alien), there has been a conscious decision to take a character-led approach. This works very well and the team are put through the wringer in most of these stories and by the end trust and relationships are very badly damaged. There are threads across the four stories – we learn much more about the complex character that is Sir Toby and note his ability to make difficult decisions with often permanent consequences. The technology is all of human origin and all the more horrific for that.
We're fans of the first series of Counter-Measures, which was well written, authentic to the period and intriguing. This is, though, a better series and should now be on the radar of most fans of quality sci-fi audio. We hope there will be a third series and the team get to carry on saving the '60s one threat at a time.