Out Today – Dark Season: Legacy Rising.
It is a year for returns. Doctor Who is returning for its 60th Anniversary. David Tennant, the 10th Doctor, is returning as the 14th Doctor. Russell T Davies is returning as the series Showrunner. Julie Gardner and Phil Collinson are returning as executive producers. And dare we say Bad Wolf (Productions) is returning in the form of a TV production company.
There is another return, as Big Finish produces a special audio revival of BBC’s 1991 children’s series, Dark Season. Dark Season was the first major role for the Academy-award winner Kate Winslet. She portrayed, Reet, one of the three teenagers who fought to save their school from the evil Mr Eldritch.
Kate Winslet said: “In 1991, I couldn’t believe that I got the job as Reet and I was going to be on the telly. It was honestly absolutely thrilling and I’ve never forgotten it. It’s important to uphold these stories and memories – especially when it has clearly become a story that is very meaningful to a lot of people. It’s been completely wonderful.”
But it was also the first television series Russell T Davies wrote. He was working as a BBC staff producer in the children’s department. His produced writing experience at the time, was limited to a children’s sketch show. Davies wrote the pilot episode and sent it to the Head of Children’s Programmes, Anne Home. She was so impressed that she had Davies write more. Eventually, the 6 episodes became a one-of-series in the 1991 children’s programming.
Now over 30 years later, the showrunner and the famous actress return to Dark Season, with a new audio drama: Dark Season: Legacy Rising!
Russell T Davies was thrilled to return to his first script. “We’re so delighted to have Kate. I’m honoured! This show means a lot to me as Dark Season is the first script that I ever wrote! It’s been strange and lovely – 31 years in the blink of an eye. The story goes on and that’s just gorgeous.”
The original TV cast members are also returning. Victoria Lambert (as Marcie), and Ben Chandler (as Tom Sullivan) join Kate Winslet (Reet) as the three teenagers who defend and protect their school. Dark Season wouldn’t be complete without the evil computer genius Mr Eldrith and Big Finish were able to persuade Grant Parsons to reprise his role. Sadly the incomparable Jacqueline Pearce (Miss Pendragon) is no longer with us but Brigit Forsyth returns as Jessica Maitland, the students’ former teacher.
The returning cast members enjoyed returning to their past. Ben Chandler said: “It’s been great to be involved with this again. I have very fond memories indeed [from the TV show] and it doesn’t seem like it was that long ago.”
Victoria Lambert agreed: “I didn’t realise what an audience there was for [Dark Season]. I was pleasantly surprised. It’s been great fun – I’m in absolute awe of these three new actors.”
Brigit Forsyth added: “I’m only too delighted to have done this. I was so thrilled that Russell wanted me to do it. I really admire his writing skills. It was my honour and I’ve loved every minute.”
Grant Parsons said: “How can you not be a part of something that was magical all of those years ago? It’s been a huge amount of fun and lovely to see everyone. Russell writes so beautifully – it was joyous to come back and say his words.”
As more than 30 years have passed, there is now a new generation of teenage heroes. Dark Season: Legacy Rising features Aitch Wylie who portrays Reet’s child, Taylor Sullivan, Jacob Dudman as Jack Parton and Bethany Antonia as Nina Lewis.
Aitch Wylie said: “Not only am I cast as Kate Winslet’s kid, I’m Kate Winslet’s non-binary kid. There’s layers and layers of things I never expected to happen in my career. It’s really cool.”
Jacob Dudman said: “How exciting to be part of a Big Finish script written by Russell T Davies and starring Kate Winslet. You can’t really get any cooler than that! To have Victoria and Grant in was amazing – they were amazing from the get-go. You’re just transported into that lovely world in the 90s and I really felt like I was in the school.”
Bethany Antonia added: “I think the OG fans are going to be so excited. I love that Russell’s writing was just as bonkers then as it is now.”
Dark Season: Legacy Rising is out now in both digital download and collector’s edition 5-disc CD box set exclusively from www.bigfinish.com.
Please note: the collector’s edition CD box set pressing is strictly limited to 1,000 copies.
DARK SEASON: LEGACY RISING
Duration: 300 minutes approx.
Released: 18 May 2023, exclusively from the Big Finish website.
Director / Producer / Script Editor: Scott Handcock
Writers: Tim Foley, Chris Chapman, James Goss, Russell T Davies
Senior Producers: John Ainsworth, David Richardson
Executive Producers: Nicholas Briggs, Jason Haigh-Ellery
Spring by Tim Foley
Summer by Chris Chapman
Autumn by James Goss
Winter by Russell T Davies
For as long as anyone can remember, there have been stories about Bishop Grave School. Terrible secrets were once buried within its foundations, screaming to be unleashed. Some children spoke of ghosts… others, strange noises… but nobody ever believed them.
Those who remember – and dare – still talk of the events from thirty years ago. They whisper about conspiracies and computers, fascists and scientists… and a mysterious man called Eldritch who wanted to bring about the end of the world.
Taylor Sullivan knows these stories better than anyone – their mother lived through them – but even that cannot prepare them for what’s to come. As a new year brings fresh dangers, can Taylor and their friends discover the secrets of Bishop Grave’s past… before that past discovers them?