July 2012 will see the launch of a brand new Doctor Who audio spin-off from Big Finish Productions, in the shape of Counter-Measures.
The first series box set reunites Simon Williams as Captain Gilmore, Pamela Salem as Rachel Jensen and Karen Gledhill as Allison; characters that were all created by Ben Aaronovitch for the TV story Remembrance of the Daleks in 1988.
“Gilmore, Rachel and Allison are very fondly remembered by fans,” says producer David Richardson. “They also have a great dynamic, and it’s easy to imagine that they had a life beyond the one TV story in which they appeared. So it’s been relatively painless for script editor John Dorney and myself to sit down over the course of several months and fashion a brand new series format centered on Ben’s characters.”
“Remembrance of the Daleks was one of the first television productions I ever took part in back in 1988,” says Karen Gledhill, “so it was a very exciting event for me. I couldn’t believe I was working with the likes of Simon Williams, Pamela Salem and Sylvester McCoy! It turned out to be the best possible introduction to team playing on television as we spent eight weeks together in the studio and on location and had a really fantastic time.
“I had no idea that 23 years on the story would still be so popular, and that some of us would be getting together again to recreate our characters and tell another story! I love the new scripts – Allison has really come into her own in these stories, and I am looking forward to meeting her again and having fun with her. The best bit will be being back in my 20s!”
Counter-Measures is set in 1964 some months after the events of Remembrance, as the government commissions a specialist group to investigate unexplained phenomena and dangerous new technology. Joining the lead cast is Hugh Ross (The Palace, Sea of Souls) as Toby Kinsella, Counter-Measures’ liaison with Whitehall, who will become embroiled in their missions. Alastair Mackenzie (Monarch of the Glen) also appears as Julian St Stephen, Allison’s boyfriend of five years.
Other cast members include Vernon Dobtcheff (The Borgias), Adrian Lukis (Peak Practice) and Stephen Greif (Blake’s 7).
“I was really inspired by the era in which the series is set,” says David. “It’s long before digital technology… even before colour TV. The UK is relatively not long out of the Second World War, nuclear power is new and society is changing. We’re feeding into that – the audio will feel ‘black and white’. The composer for the project, Nicholas Briggs, will even be making use of 1960s style stock music tracks in his music.”
“The tone is part 60s Doctor Who, part Quatermass, part Doomwatch, and a lot completely new… Recording began in September - Pamela Salem flew in from the US just to do this - and there’s a buzz about this project that feels similar to the formative days of Jago and Litefoot. I’m hopeful that it will be equally as popular.”
The box set is now available to pre-order at a special discount (valid until the release date) on CD and download.
It's ten years since Nick Briggs became co-executive producer of Big Finish Productions. His friends and colleagues celebrate this fact in a not entirely serious tribute.