The Counter-Measures gang are called back into action following an explosion at a Spanish research facility. There they uncover a scientist who has been experimenting with cloning.
But there’s no time to relax after the trip when the gang wake up on a cruise ship far out to sea. None of them remember how they got there or what they are supposed to be doing. Returning to London and their base in The Post Office Tower, Gilmore explores the world of Punk Rock. Meanwhile Toby, Allison and Rachel have to face off with an old foe. But all this is just prologue. Yeti are striking the industrial heart of the city; an old intelligence is back, slowly spreading across London and the world. The Counter-Measures team are racing against the clock to save the world!
Series one of ‘The New Counter-Measures’ took Group Captain ‘Chunky’ Gilmore, Rachel Jensen, Allison Williams and Sir Toby Kinsella around the world. Switzerland, Monte-Carlo and 10000-leagues under the sea. The second series takes place closer to home. This helps with creating a familiar feeling, similar to the original adventures of the range.
The Splintered Man by Roland Moore
Keeping up with the international feel of the previous set, ‘The Splintered Man’ takes us to Spain where the gang enjoy a little holiday. The story sets out with a light-hearted tone as their downtime spirals into a series of mini-disasters. It’s a nice bit of comedy that suits the series nicely and eases us into this new set of tales. But the humour isn’t all that drives the story. The plot takes a detailed look at cloning. In fact, Toby makes a comment about how it could be useful in a war.
Writer Roland Moore has already made his mark in the world of Doctor Who with ‘The Night Witches’. Here he’s crafted a fantastic story with plenty of action, plenty of Doctor Who references (for good measure) and the groundwork for a romance between Gilmore and Rachel. ‘The Night Witches’ is a brilliant story and ‘The Splintered Man’ is just as brilliant.
The Ship of the Sleepwalkers by Christopher Hatherall
Christopher Hatherall delivers another interesting story with ‘The Ship of the Sleepwalkers’. Waking up on a cruise ship in the middle of the ocean, the team have no idea how they got there. They soon find themselves knee-deep in a global conspiracy, with plenty of enemies everywhere they turn. ‘The Ship of the Sleepwalkers’ taps nicely into the Cold War paranoia of being brainwashed by enemies. This is an element the original ‘Counter-Measures’ series did really well and Hatherall builds on it very effectively here. The sound design evokes real feeling of claustrophobia and isolation as the gang traipse the corridors of the ship. This is used to ramp up the tension when the obvious means of escape are cut off.
My Enemy’s Enemy by Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky
Robert Khan and Tom Salinsky resurrect an old foe in the form of Lady Suzanne Clare. She proved popular in the first series so it almost an natural decision to bring her back. The story isn’t as fast-paced as the previous two but works as a character piece to focuses on Allison. With a government conspiracy unfolding around her, Allison finds herself having to form an uneasy alliance with Clare to save the day.
This where Khan and Salinsky throw a curveball into proceedings that throws away any expectations. Of course, they can’t trust Clare, who has an agenda of her own, but can trust their teammate? Again, while slower paced than the previous adventures, it works in some nice foreshadowing of events to come. Not to mention a cliffhanger that ends on a note of dread and anticipation for the final chapter.
Time of the Intelligence by Andy Frankham-Allen
When it comes to bringing back villains like the Great Intelligence and the Yeti, there is no writer better than Andy Frankham-Allen. He’s already explored them in Candy Jar Books’ ‘Lethbridge Stewart’ book series and he makes them work brilliantly on audio too. Particularly enjoyable with this tale is its opening, evoking a classic Doctor Who feel. It’s nice to hear old elements of the series being retooled for a modern audio audience, not just reeling off the stock sound effects.
It’s also nice that ‘The Web of Fear’ is referenced so much as it streamlines the story. Toby, in particular, has a pretty good idea what’s going on from the start. We don’t need the characters to relearn what the audience already knows. That goes as far as bringing back Professor Travers: the only person on Earth with enough experience with the Intelligence.
Tim Bentinck stands in for the late Jack Watling as Travers to great effect. Though often his voice is a little too gruff. But by the mid-point, Bentinck gets the hang of it and Professor Travers fits right into the story.
The direction from Ken Bentley is pitch perfect, with some terrific variation in the pacing to keep the listener guessing. Each feel exciting and heighten the tension to balance out the slower pace in some moments. Bentley knows how to get the best out of his actors and here is no different. Each cast member is firing on all cylinders. The acting is brilliant, the writing is solid and the direction is fantastic.
‘The New Counter-Measures – Series 2’ is a delightful release. Each story is superb, helped along by some fantastic writing and some great concepts. The main and guest casts are fantastic and there isn’t one person who isn’t pulling their vocal weight. The opening salvo sets things off well and the closing wraps up nicely. Hopefully, we’ll get another series with the ‘Counter-Measures’ gang. This was fantastic.
Blogtor Rating – 9/10
‘The New Counter-Measures – Series 2’ is available to buy now from the Big Finish website.
1. The Splintered Man by Roland Moore
4. Time of the Intelligence by Andy Frankham-Allen
With thanks to Hannah Haisman and Candy Jar
Written By: Roland Moore, Christopher Hatherall, Robert Khan, Tom Salinsky, Andy Frankham-Allen
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Simon Williams (Group Captain Gilmore), Pamela Salem (Rachel Jensen), Karen Gledhill (Allison Williams), Hugh Ross (Sir Toby Kinsella), Owen Aaronovitch (Doctor Javier Santos), Dan Starkey (Doctor Henry Cording), Beatriz Romilly (Mariana Lopez), Cory English (Ted Hunter), Ewan Bailey (Dimitri Papkin/ Mr Dobson), Caroline Harker (Dr Jayne Smythe), Carolyn Seymour (Lady Suzanne Clare), Laurence Kennedy (Sir August Frazer), Leighton Pugh (Bernard/ Freddie), Lisa Diveney (Doctor Norma Vine), Tim Bentinck (Professor Edward Travers/ The Great Intelligence), Charlie Anson (Reece Goff/ Jacob). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Creative Director for the Haisman Estate Andy Frankham-Allen
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs