Today, I am told, copies of Vienna – The Memory Box have been sluddering through people’s mailboxes and materializing with a virtual twinkle in their Big Finish account folders. This is exciting and marvellous, for several reasons.
Firstly, the story has the fabulous Chase Masterson as its lead, portraying the intergalactic assassin Vienna Salvatori. The character appeared previously in the Doctor Who story The Shadow Heart, but don’t worry. You don’t have to have bought that story to get anything. This story stands stands alone in its own self-contained universe; it features no Time Lords, Daleks or Cybermen. Chase is glorious in the part, a part that could’ve been written for her (and which is, as far as The Memory Box is concerned)
Secondly, it also features as its guest cast the mind-bogglingly versatile and reliable John Banks, top comedienne and Games Of Thrones star Gemma Whelan, and top comedian and Torchwood’s PC Andy, Tom Price. Without wishing to choose favourites, it was particularly lovely to meet Tom as I’d written for him before, many centuries ago on a cruelly underrated and undeservedly forgotten Channel 5 sketch show called Swinging, but had never actually met him. For years, in meetings about various sitcoms I’d written I’d put his name forward as my choice as lead, but alas to no avail. But who knows what the future holds, I haven’t given up yet.
Thirdly, it was directed by Ken Bentley, top director. Bearing in mind the main quality a director has to have, in my opinion, is the ability to put up with a writer sitting behind him occasionally giving notes. That is Ken’s great talent. Where other directors have sighed, despaired or taken out court orders, he has remained a bastion of tolerance.
Fourthly, the sound design and music is by Jamie Robertson, who has done many great things for Big Finish, such as the Jago & Litefoot theme and the noises for such celebrated releases as The First Sontarans and Peri And The Piscon Paradox. But unless I’m massively mistaken, he’s never worked on one of my things before, so this is a rare conjunction of talents.
And that’s it. Oh, fifthly, and very much lastly, it was written by me, and I’m terribly proud of it. More than that, though, I’m terribly grateful to Big Finish, and particularly David Richardson, for giving me this opportunity, to set-up my own little science fiction adventure series, and I couldn’t be more delighted that the end result sounds like the soundtrack to the most awesome, big-budget, thrill-packed rollercoaster of an action movie ever. I have been done proud.
What's the story actually about? There’s another blog here about that.
What I should mention, as it’s been mentioned in the ‘out now’ announcement for The Memory Box, is that there is a Vienna series in the offing, a three-story box set. At least two of which, should you need any persuading to pre-order, will not be written by me. Which is another great delight of originating a series; having the chance to recommend people for work. I hope to have the opportunity to do that a great deal more.
So please, please, pop over to Big Finish and order the CD or the download, at the time of writing it’s only £5, which barely buys you a pint of lager these days. Go on, I promise you won’t regret it.