AUDIO REVIEW: COUNTER-MEASURES – SERIES 3 / AUTHOR: VARIOUS / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / STARRING: SIMON WILLIAMS, PAMELA SALEM, KAREN GLEDHILL, HUGH ROSS, PHILIP POPE / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
Big Finish has tweaked the production of its Counter-Measures series with a new theme tune and what sounds like more use of music here and there. What it hasn’t done is lose the character of this more subtle Doctor Who spin-off.
For those who have never heard of Counter-Measures, they are the team who appeared with the Seventh Doctor in the 1988 story Remembrance of the Daleks. Since being spun-out in 2012 they have now appeared in three four-disc box sets. They have found their own niche in a world that touches that of the Doctor’s but also has a Quatermass and even Avengers feel to it. Big Finish has, though, made sure that this set stands alone and can be listened to with minimal introduction.
The prolific Matt Fitton starts the charge with Changing of the Guard. This links back to the previous stories with the head of the Counter-Measures team Sir Toby (Ross) on trial trying to save his career. The rest of the team have to deal with a criminal who has access to alien technology and Allison Williams (Gledhill) has plenty to do as she enters the criminal’s lair. Meanwhile the team are trying to thwart Templeton’s (Pope) attempts to re-shape them.
Justin Richards' The Concrete Cage is set around the construction of a new tower block. This brings in supernatural elements a-plenty and is reminiscent of Nigel Kneale’s The Stone Tapes but adds a lot in its own right. All four of the team are required to solve the mystery.
Director Ken Bentley makes his Big Finish writing debut with The Forgotten Village, which starts with Allison having to go back home to see her father. We learn a lot about her past life and romance is in the air. It is also in the air for Group Captain Gilmore (Williams) and Rachel Jensen (Salem), though Ken is careful to tease without taking anything too far. A mystery unfolds that will bring revelation and disaster in equal measure.
The final story is John Dorney’s Unto the Breach. Evidence arises that an alien has been found in the Eastern Bloc and the team have to travel to East Berlin to find it. This simple premise brings lots of Cold War flavour and John draws together themes from the earlier stories and ends on a major cliffhanger. The story is complete in its own right but does make the wait for the next release a long one. If you haven’t been sure about trying this series, now might be the time to do so as it continues to gain admirers.