Class made a welcome return under Big Finish last month. In Volume Two, things really start to get academic!
The first volume of Big Finish’s Class series took the gang outside the campus for most of its stories. Volume two takes full advantage of the school setting and teenage characters for an intense trio of adventures around the Bunghole of Time.
Everybody Loves Reagan by Tim Foley
It’s a normal day at Coal Hill Academy and April befriends the new girl, Reagan Harper. But…she’s not new, she’s been here for a while. Right? Or has she always been here? Not only that, but everybody likes her. Like really likes her. Practically worships her! Everyone except April. She knows something’s wrong but can she convince anyone before Reagan makes Sophie invisible! Foley builds on the “popular kid” idea common to school-based dramas and turns it on its head. While Sophie Hopkins, Fady Elsayed and Vivian Oparah all showcase their developing talent as performers, it’s Taj Atwal as Reagan Harper that truly steals the show. She renders a villain with an arresting chummyness that really sells why Reagan has the effect she does. It’s possibly the first Class audio that feels like it could only take place with the established characters and settings of this series. It treats the characters like teenagers and Coal Hill Academy as a society unto itself so the threat from Reagan feels simultaenously cataclysmic and personal.
Now You Know… by Tim Leng
Tim Leng centres the box set with a sterling character-based mystery. After a spate of attacks leave the inhabitants of Coal Hill Academy in comas, Tanya and Matteus suspect alien involvement. As the two plucky underdogs of the gang, they decide to investigate themselves. But as the mystery deepens, they will have to turn on each other and put themselves in the line of fire. The pairing of Tanya and Matteusz works surprisingly well, and Oparah and Jordan Renzo play off each other with excellent chemistry. Again, the script feels like a Class story in the sense that you couldn’t imagine the UNIT characters or any other contemporary Whoniverse players slipping into the plot. Something that was maybe lacking from Volume One. The plot makes a powerful statement on the nature of abuse and the cyclic nature of revenge fantasies that makes this set a must-listen.
In Remembrance by Guy Adams
Let’s admit it: this was the hook for Volume Two. Does Adams deliver on the promise of the premise? Do Daleks scream EX-TERM-IN-ATE? You bet your bumps they do! Quill and Charlie find themselves roaming the halls of Coal Hill Academy after dark. But there is a very good reason; someone’s broken in. Specifically, a woman in a ballgown. Dorothy McShane, or Ace to her friends, has broken in to thwart a break in already-in-progress. Something very dangerous, which she knew was coming. Something loud, white and dangerous. The Daleks have returned to Coal Hill to ensure their remembrance. Katherine Kelly and Sophie Aldred spark off each other as Quill and Ace in really unexpected ways. Ace is naturally a much more optimistic character than Quill and both challenge each other on their views in a series of scenes carefully crafted by Adams to lose none of the story’s momentum. Meanwhile Greg Austin and Nicholas Briggs are clearly having a ball as Charlie and the Daleks, helping to entrench Class in the Whoniverse.
Anyone fancy an Ace spin-off series?
The Class audio series takes some of its cues from the Torchwood monthly range in that each story is focused on one character. But whereas Torchwood sticks to one or two main characters and a couple of new roles, Class keeps a story focused on one character but weaves in as much as the main cast as possible. It’s a series about teenagers, of course their relationships with their friends is going to be one of the most important elements! It feels natural that the series would focus on the rich characterisation that was a staple of Patrick Ness’s original run. Scott Handcock directs the cast with pinpoint precision to keep their characters consistent and (even within the limited time-frame of these stories) the effect is some superb development. The masterful music and expert sound design from Blair Mowat and Luke Peitnik respectively ensure that this feels authentically like the TV series but isn’t afraid to experiment. If this is the talent we can expect from the first set, a second series can’t be far behind.
Class: The Audio Adventures – Volume 2 is available exclusively from the Big Finish Website on download, and a limited CD run.
This title was released in August 2018. It is exclusive to the Big Finish website.
Three new adventures for the students of Coal Hill Academy, based on the television series created by Patrick Ness.
2.1 Everybody Loves Reagan by Tim Foley
When Reagan Harper joins Coal Hill Academy, everybody instantly loves her – everybody except for April. Is there really more to Reagan than meets the eye? Or are there other forces at work in Coal Hill?
2.2 Now You Know… by Tim Leng
Following a series of freak attacks on staff and pupils, Tanya and Matteusz find themselves investigating a mystery that dates back to the 1960s. Together, they hope to solve it – even if that means turning on one another to do so…
2.3 In Remembrance by Guy Adams
When an alarm is triggered at Coal Hill Academy, Quill and Charlie encounter a mysterious intruder prowling around school premises. Worse, they also encounter a Dalek. Their only hope of survival lies with the stranger: a woman who calls herself ‘Ace’…
THIS CD BOX SET IS A LIMITED PRESSING. ORDER NOW TO AVOID DISAPPOINTMENT.
Written By: Tim Foley, Tim Leng, Guy Adams
Directed By: Scott Handcock
Katherine Kelly (Miss Quill), Greg Austin (Charlie Smith), Fady Elsayed (Ram Singh), Sophie Hopkins (April MacLean), Vivian Oparah (Tanya Adeola), Jordan Renzo (Matteusz Andrzejewski), Taj Atwal (Reagan Harper), Anson Boon (Peter Dillard), Shvorne Marks (Michelle), Wilf Scolding (Chris Richards) with Sophie Aldred (Ace) and Nicholas Briggs (The Daleks). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer Scott Handcock
Script Editor Scott Handcock
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs