If you’re of a certain age, the three stars of Strangeness in Space will be familiar ‘blast from the past’ names. Of course, Sophie Aldred is still quite a well-known face from her Doctor Who days and on the convention scene, but it’s a certain type of person who remembers Trevor and Simon. As a double act, they graced Saturday morning TV and encouraged viewers to ‘swing their pants’. Now, many years later, they have written this, an ambitious audio space comedy, with their sights set on making it a series.
In this first episode, our heroes, Trev and Simon (played by, well, you get the idea) are on board a spaceship, out of orbit and damaged, with only a robot called LEMON (voiced by Barnaby Edwards) and a NASA Space Centre gift shop manager, Sophie (guess who) for company. All they want to do is perform as their ’80s synth pop duo, Pink Custard, but since the pair have used eggs that need to be used to repair the ship to make breakfast, they have to mount an expedition to a nearby planet to source more.
With that fairly simple set up, the gags come thick and fast. While it may not be as sophisticated as Hitchhiker’s Guide, it’s still a fun listen. The duo of Trev and Simon haven’t lost their lovable energy, and Sophie plays the bubbly ‘sensible’ one infectiously. It’s something not often found these days – an audio adventure that all the family can enjoy. It’s daft enough for the kids, and knowing enough for the adults who can understand the references (many of them from ‘80s culture). Don’t be put off by the fact there’s a song mid-way, it’s actually quite an amusing little electropop pastiche, but there’s also some actual drama among the fun to make up for it. Nothing too scary, but you may well get the galloping nadgers. The sound design is fantastic, and avoids going OTT with ‘space’ sounds and bleeps, and there’s some hilarious fake futuristic adverts, which sound not dissimilar to radio ads from the olden days…
This first episode – available online for free, so you have no excuse not to check it out – was funded by a Kickstarter, and episode two just needs the budget for post-production, so if you enjoy what you hear, consider helping out by purchasing something from the show's website. It’s certainly an entertaining start for the series.
STRANGENESS IN SPACE EPISODE ONE: FEATHERHEADS / AUTHORS: TREVOR NEAL, SIMON HICKSON / STARRING: SOPHIE ALDRED, TREVOR NEAL, SIMON HICKSON / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW