The Scarifyers
The Nazad Conspiracy

Starring: Nicholas Courtney and Terry Molloy
Cosmic Hobo
RRP: 11.99
Available 14 August 2006

Professor Dunning is in the process of telling a few of his students a horror story when his oration is interrupted by a mysterious Russian who has only time to shout one word, Nazad, before he even more mysteriously falls out of the professors window, only to be run over by both a tram and a horse. Inspector Lionheart is drafted in to investigate the death an investigation which will lead him to uncover the Nazad conspiracy...

The Scarifyers: The Nazad Conspiracy is a new audio play written and directed by Simon Barnard, with music by Edwin Sykes, and depending on its commercial success could be the opening shot in a series of audio plays. It represents the first output of new production company Cosmic Hobo. The story is set in or around 1938 as Inspector Lionheart states that it is fifty years since the Ripper murders, which took place between August and November 1888.

It is, I'm sure, with an eye on the Doctor Who fraternity and the fans of the Big Finish audio dramas, which led to the casting of Nicholas Courtney and Terry Malloy. For the slightly younger amongst us, and to be truthful that would probably be anyone under twenty-five, Nicholas Courtney played old Five Rounds Rapid Brigadier in the original run of Doctor Who and Terry Malloy played Davros, creator of the Daleks. That is not to impugn either of these gentlemen's vocal talents. Both do justice to their respective roles, though for Courtney it must have been a walk in the park as his natural voice conjures up images of authority figures.

That's not to say that the show doesn't have a few minor problems, the tale itself is a nicely paced historical/horror romp which thankfully never takes itself too seriously. However, the performances sometimes skirt the edge of pantomime. Some of the more minor lines are delivered very flatly. The characters also lean towards caricatures, rather than believable protagonists. All this can be forgiven if you take the show at face value as a fairly light hearted romp.

Production on the discs is very professional with a good use of incidental music and sound effects.

It's a brave company that produces original work and on the strength of their first disc I for one hope that this is a commercial success. I'm sure that once the series has found its feet it will turn out to be even more entertaining than its first interesting instalment.

Charles Packer