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The Worlds of Gerry Anderson Audio Productions

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With Space:1999 recently joining the ranks of Gerry Anderson shows now available as full-cast audio dramas from Big Finish Productions, we thought it was time to put together a handy guide to keep track of what’s available for your listening pleasure so far – so here’s our Gerry Anderson audio productions guide!

The first Anderson series to appear from Big Finish was the 1980s puppet sci-fi comedy Terrahawks, in the form of three volumes (each featuring eight brand new audio episodes) released between 2015 and 2017. These were a continuation of the original series that featured three of the original voice cast; Denise Bryer, Jeremy Hitchen, and Robbie Stevens, with Beth Chalmers taking over the roles of Kate Kestrel and Cy-star from the late Anne Ridler. The audio stories were penned by an assortment of writers who were new to the Anderson universe plus several who worked on his previous shows – including one episode adapted from an unfilmed script written by Anderson himself!- and brought back all the classic characters, vehicles and settings of the original series. Despite reaching and often exceeding the heights of silliness that the television series often achieved, the new episodes also more fully explored many of the show’s core concepts and ideas – and weren’t afraid to shake things up a little from time to time!

Big Finish’s Terrahawks also included guest appearances from such Anderson legends as Nicholas Parsons and David Graham (plus one or two cleverly-hidden cameos!), and several episodes are available to listen to for free at the Big Finish website; including season 1’s Deadly Departed, season 2’s Renta-Hawks, and a download-only exclusive episode Vile, guest-starring Space Precinct’s Richard James! The series also boasted the inclusion of all the original 1980s sound effects plus Richard Harvey’s incidental score from the television show.

You can purchase any of the three volumes of Terrahawks on audio directly from the Gerry Anderson store or the Big Finish website – where you also get a free download version of the story to listen to instantly! The Big Finish mobile app also allows you to listen to your purchases on the go, so you can have them about your person at all times!

Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2017, and to mark the occasion Anderson Entertainment once again joined forces with Big Finish for a series of special audio releases. These included volumes 1-3 to of the Spectrum Files, enhanced audiobook readings of the three Captain Scarlet novels written by John Theydon back in the 1960s. These featured narration from Thunderbirds voice artist David Graham, with all the male characters being voiced by New Captain Scarlet’s Wayne Forester and all the female characters by original series actress Liz Morgan. They also featured full sound effects (many direct from the television series) and a new musical score (composed by Benji Clifford) plus the original closing titles song, providing a truly immersive Captain Scarlet experience that’s exceptionally true to the era of the original series!

Alongside these came a limited edition 50th anniversary Captain Scarlet audio box set. This 7-disc set collected the five original Captain Scarlet ‘mini-album’ audio stories from the late 1960s, plus the eight episodes of the original television series that were adapted for audio in 1993 (featuring newly-recorded in-character narration from Ed Bishop as Captain Blue). Also included in the set were several unused variations of the theme song, vintage commercials, and a new hour-long documentary about the making of the series. The discs were packaged in an attractive deluxe slipcover book featuring a Spectrum briefing dossier from the Cloudbase team, and the entire set was a limited edition of just 5000 copies. As of September 2019 this set is still available, but don’t leave it too late to pick up your copy!

All four Big Finish Captain Scarlet titles can also be purchased either from our online store, the Big Finish website (again with free download), or other retailers. If you’re uncertain how the television audios would sound with narration, one of the Ed Bishop narrated episodes (The Heart of New York) can also be heard for free on the Big Finish website.

Most recently Big Finish returned to the Gerry Anderson universe this year with a complete re-imagining of one of his biggest and best-loved shows; Space:1999. This retelling of the 1975 sci-fi spectacular, starring Mark Bonnar as Commander Koenig and Maria Teresa Creasey as Doctor Russell, began with the release of a new feature-length adaptation of Breakaway on September 13th 2019 (20 years after the day the Moon left Earth orbit in the original television series).

Although the cast are all new, playing new versions of the show’s classic characters, this audio revival aims to recreate as closely as possible the soundscape of the original series and evoke the classic settings and vehicles of Moonbase Alpha. Once again Benji Clifford has composed the music, very much in Barry Gray’s year one style, and listeners will certainly be able to pick out original sound effects throughout the story.

Much like their previous audio re-imagining of The Prisoner, Big Finish’s Space:1999 will offer a mix of exciting new stories alongside some re-tellings of classic episodes of the original series (such as Breakaway). The series will continue next year, with a box set of four new episodes – one of which is likely to be a new adaptation of Death’s Other Dominion. This format should allow Big Finish to cherry-pick the very best elements of the television series going forward (including perhaps, eventually, Maya?) and explore them in new and exciting ways while still allowing the new adventures of Moonbase Alpha to forge their own unique identity, separate from but closely aligned with the original.

Each of Big Finish’s Anderson projects so far have been extremely well-received, and it’s almost certain that over time the company will be bringing us further audio continuations or reworkings of other classic Gerry Anderson series – but what would you most like to hear, and which of their releases so far has entertained you the most? Let us know in the comments below!

 

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