The most daring spy of the 1900s is reborn in the 1960s for a 2020s audience
In 1966, Big Finish wasn’t even a glint in Doctor Who fandom’s eye. But that was when the winning team who’d brought Doctor Who to TV screens (Head of Drama, Sidney Newman and producer, Verity Lambert) cooked-up an action hero series as the BBC’s answer to ITV’s top-rated off-beat spy-fi show The Avengers (which Newman had also initiated).
Their creation was Adam Adamant Lives!
The series made a TV star of Gerald Harper, who played the eponymous hero, Adam Adamant. An Edwardian adventurer and government agent, Adamant fell foul of his nemesis, the Face, in 1902. He was left for dead, frozen in a block of ice with all life-signs suspended.
Awakening in the ‘modern’ world of swinging 1966, Adamant soon found his feet, enlisting the assistance of groovy Sixties youngster, Georgina Jones, and a butler, in the form of ex-thespian and Punch’n’Judy man William E. Simms. Together, they zoomed into action in their Mini Cooper, fighting crime and defeating the bad guys – clashing with the fantastical, the downright nasty and everything in between. Their adventures were quirky, crazy and just a little tongue-in-cheek. And as fondly remembered today by fans as the Doctor Who of the era.
Almost as long since Adam Adamant Lives! was on TV as Adamant spent on ice, Big Finish has revived the show as a series of full-cast, action-packed audio dramas. The setting is still a thoroughly authentic 1966, but this time Adam’s re-appearance decades after his vanishing in 1902 remains a mystery. And Adamant is tormented by the inner presence of his arch foe, The Face, as a constant companion buried in his psyche.
Now from Big Finish comes a “fresh and interesting cover version” of the TV classic
In Big Finish’s full-cast audio production of Adam Adamant Lives! the mad-cap antics are all present, with plenty of groovy Sixties charm. However, author Guy Adams (a thriller and comics writer with strong audio drama credentials writing Doctor Who and Torchwood for Big Finish) has also reinvented the series as a dark, compelling, psychological drama, permeated by the feeling that absolutely anything could happen at any moment.
Nicholas Briggs explains what motivated the team to bring Adamant back to life. “It was the idea of Big Finish listeners, writing in. Then there was suddenly an opportunity to get hold of the rights. I was searching for a writer whose eyes would light up when I mentioned the series, someone who would take my arm off to do it! And Guy was that man. He said, ‘Oooh now you’re talking!’ and was clearly seeing the possibilities.”
Guy Adams is known for being by turns terrifying and hilarious in his Doctor Who audio plays. For Adam Adamant, he’s written all three episodes, as well as co-starring as William E Simms. “I want to make sure that fans of the show don’t immediately fling it across the room thinking, ‘What have they done with my cherished Edwardian?’ But nonetheless, I wanted to find a little angle on it that would make it fresh and interesting to do. When you do something like this, you’re really making a cover version, and there’s really nothing so dull as a cover version that sounds identical to the original.”
Blake Ritson, Guy Adams and Milly Thomas star in Big Finish’s reimagining of the groovy 1960s classic cult TV series, in association with BBC Studios.
The new sound of Adam Adamant himself is actor Blake Ritson (Upstairs Downstairs, Da Vinci’s Demons, Krypton), who said: “He’s quite a vulnerable soul, constantly wrangling with his inner demons which manifest themselves as the Face — a kind of projection of his neuroses. So I think he’s really casting around for someone to help him navigate this modern, strange world. And Georgina is brilliant at anchoring him. She’s a very similar spirit to Adam, with a passion for adventure and investigating.”
Milly Thomas plays Georgina Jones. She explained: “She’s been researching to write a book about an Edwardian adventuress, so she has quite a lot of knowledge of the era, including knowing about Adam. She’s very much a dreamer, preferring this archaic world of mystery, living in the world of her research. And then she meets Adam, and she’s one of the few people who knows exactly who he is and is able to suspend her disbelief about his surviving into modern times. I’m very excited by her optimism.”
Adam Adamant Lives! A Vintage Year for Scoundrels is now available from bigfinish.com as a collector’s edition CD box set and digital download, from just £16.99.
ADAM ADAMANT LIVES! A VINTAGE YEAR FOR SCOUNDRELS
- Duration: 180 minutes approx
- Released: 28 January 2020, exclusively from the Big Finish website.
- Director: Nicholas Briggs
- Producer: Emma Haigh
- Senior Producer: David Richardson
- Music: Benji Clifford
- Written by: Guy Adams
- Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery
Pre-release price: £19.99 (collector’s edition CD) £16.99 (digital download) from www.bigfinish.com
RRP: £24.99 (collector’s edition CD), £19.99 (digital download)