Recent Audiobooks

Normally I do an annual audiobook roundup, those titles I’ve produced and/or edited (with my lovely other half Tanja!)  But it has been such a busy year to date, that I felt a quick update now would be useful (and maybe inspire you to buy one or two of these beauties):

DOCTOR WHO: SHADA – Gareth Roberts/Douglas Adams

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From the unique mind of Douglas Adams, the legendary ‘lost’ Doctor Who story completed at last by Gareth Roberts and read by Lalla Ward.

The Doctor’s old friend and fellow Time Lord Professor Chronotis has retired to Cambridge University – where nobody will notice if he lives for centuries. But now he needs help from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. When he left Gallifrey he took with him a few little souvenirs – most of them are harmless. But one of them is extremely dangerous.

The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey isn’t a book for Time Tots. It is one of the Artefacts, dating from the dark days of Rassilon. It must not be allowed to fall into the wrong hands. The sinister Skagra most definitely has the wrong hands. He wants the book. He wants to discover the truth behind Shada. And he wants the Doctor’s mind…

Based on the scripts for the original television series by the legendary Douglas Adams, Shada retells an adventure that never made it to the screen.

READ BY LALLA WARD

THE SECRET OF HAPPY EVER AFTER – Lucy Dillon

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When Anna takes over Longhampton’s bookshop, it’s her dream come true. And not just because it gets her away from her rowdy children and their hyperactive Dalmatian. As she unpacks boxes of childhood classics, Anna can’t shake the feeling that maybe her own fairytale ending isn’t all that she’d hoped for. But as the stories of love, adventure, secret gardens and giant peaches breathe new life into the neglected shop, Anna and her customers get caught up in the magic too. Even Anna’s best friend Michelle – who categorically doesn’t believe in true love and handsome princes – isn’t immune. But when secrets from Michelle’s own childhood come back to haunt her, and disaster threatens Anna’s home, will the wisdom and charm of the stories in the bookshop help the two friends – and those they love – find their own happy ever afters?

READ BY JILLY BOND

OVER THE MOON: MY AUTOBIOGRAPHY – David Essex

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As a young schoolboy, David Essex dreamed of becoming a professional footballer and was signed up by his beloved West Ham United. But as a teenager, he developed a passion for music, which set him on a very different path, and ultimately led to superstardom. It wasn’t, however, an easy start. Scraping a living on the edges of show business was a hard slog, and he endured many disappointments.

Then, aged 23, he went along to an audition for a new musical called Godspell and won the role (Jesus) that shot him to fame. Within a year he was starring in a smash hit film, That’ll Be the Day, and had written and recorded his first number-one single, ‘Rock On’. It was the start of Essex Mania, and a long journey of undreamt of adventure.

From Godspell to EastEnders, it’s been an amazing life. And here is David’s full incredible story – in his own words.

READ BY DAVID ESSEX

THE VOYAGES OF THE PRINCESS MATILDA – Shane Spall

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“Tim and I both understood we had done something really stupid. We had underestimated the danger involved in going out to sea. We had no radio, compass, life raft, or flares. In other words, we were a couple of idiots.”

This is the story of Shane and Timothy Spall and their Dutch barge, The Princess Matilda. After a summer on the Thames they head out to sea with only a road atlas and a vast amount of ignorance – and it is absolutely terrifying!  On their travels, memories are triggered of childhood trips to the seaside, but also of more recent times.

As Tim and Shane explore the coast from the Medway to Cornwall, eventually they start to wonder: Could they make it out of England altogether? Could Matilda make it to … Wales?!  Taking place over the course of five years, The Voyages of the Princess Matilda is a minor epic, charting a very personal, moving, and uplifting story of an everyday couple’s adventure around their much-loved homeland. The Spalls’ adventures have already been the subject of two BBC4 series.

READ BY FRANCES BARBER

WHERE HAVE I GONE? MY LIFE IN A YEAR – Pauline Quirke

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Pauline Quirke was a skinny child, a slim teenager, a curvy woman, then – according to her bathroom scales (curse them) – just plain fat. Yes, the “F” word. Tipping the scales at nearly 20 stone, with creaking knees and a dodgy ankle to boot, at the beginning of 2011 Pauline had reached a crisis point. Something had to change, and fast.

It was never going to be an easy ride, but with her trademark warmth and sense of humour, Pauline recounts the highs and lows of the roller-coaster year in which she whips herself, and her life, into shape – with a fair few tales from her celebrated forty-year acting career thrown into the bargain. She reveals all: from the strain of working long hours away from home on one of Britain’s most popular soaps to renewing her wedding vows and reuniting with her Birds of a Feather co-stars; from battling the bulge and facing the naysayers to rediscovering the joys of airline travel…without a seatbelt extension.

Honest and revealing, Where Have I Gone? is brimming with brilliantly funny anecdotes and truly moving moments. So put your feet up and join Pauline as she embarks on the most incredible year of her life.

READ BY PAULINE QUIRKE

THE BOOK OF EBENEZER LE PAGE – GB Edwards

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Ebenezer Le Page, cantankerous, opinionated and charming, is one of the most compelling literary creations of the late 20th century. Eighty years old, Ebenezer has lived his whole life on the Channel Island of Guernsey, a stony speck of a place caught between England and France yet a world away from either. Ebenezer himself is fiercely independent, but as he reaches the end of his life he is determined to tell his own story and the story of those he has known. He writes of family secrets and feuds, unforgettable friendships and friendships betrayed, love glimpsed and lost.

The Book of Ebenezer Le Page is a beautifully detailed chronicle of a life, but it is equally an oblique reckoning with the traumas of the 20th century, as Ebenezer recalls both the men lost to the Great War and the German Occupation of Guernsey during World War II, and looks with despair at the encroachments of commerce and tourism on his beloved island.

READ BY ROY DOTRICE

PLANET OF THE APES – Pierre Boulle

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Greg Wise reads Pierre Boulle’s chilling, iconic novel about a nightmare world where apes rule over men. In a spaceship that can travel at the speed of light, Ulysse, a journalist, sets off from Earth for the nearest solar system. He finds there a planet which resembles his own, except that on Soror humans behave like animals and are hunted by a civilised race of primates. Captured and sent to a research facility, Ulysse must convince the apes of their mutual origins. But such revelations have always been greeted by prejudice and fear… The inspiration for several acclaimed cult films, Planet of the Apes is both a gripping, disturbing fable and a classic of science fiction.

READ BY GREG WISE

SKIOS – Michael Frayn

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On the sunlit Greek island of Skios, the Fred Toppler Foundation’s annual lecture is to be given by Dr Norman Wilfred, the world-famous authority on the scientific organisation of science. He turns out to be young and charming – not at all the intimidating figure they had been expecting. The Foundation’s guests are soon eating out of his hand. So is Nikki, the attractive and efficient organiser. Meanwhile, in a remote villa at the other end of the island, Nikki’s old school-friend Georgie waits for the notorious chancer she has rashly agreed to go on holiday with, and who has characteristically failed to turn up. Trapped in the villa with her, by an unfortunate chain of misadventure, is a balding old gent called Dr Norman Wilfred, who has lost his whereabouts, his luggage, his temper and his sense of reality – everything he possesses apart from the flyblown text of a well-travelled lecture on the scientific organisation of science…

READ BY MARTIN JARVIS

HOLLOW EARTH – John & Carole E. Barrowman

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Twins Matt and Emily Calder have imaginations so powerful that they can make art come to life. Their powers are sought by villains intent on accessing the terrors of Hollow Earth – a place where all the devils, demons and monsters ever imagined lie trapped for all eternity. If Hollow Earth is breached, the world will be plunged into chaos. If Hollow Earth is breached… the twins are as good as dead.

READ BY JOHN BARROWMAN

WHY SPENCER PERCEVAL HAD TO DIE – Andro Linklater

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On the afternoon of May 11, 1812, Spencer Perceval, the all-powerful prime minister of Great Britain, was fatally shot at short range in the lobby of Parliament by John Bellingham, a Liverpool businessman. Perceval polarized public opinion: Revered by some and hated by others for his fight against the lucrative slave trade, he domineeringly kept Britain at war against Napoléon and was driving her into war with the United States despite the huge economic drain of each, raising taxes to new heights to finance his decisions. Bellingham was not alone in blaming Perceval and his government for their ruinous policies; indeed, he claimed to have killed Perceval “as a matter of justice,” and believed he would not only be exonerated, but also applauded for his action. But he was not to enjoy relief; within a week, granted the briefest of trials that trampled his right to due process, he was hanged.

READ BY STEPHEN RASHBROOK

THE HUNT – Andrew Xia Fukuda

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Seventeen-year-old Gene struggles to survive in a society where humans have been eaten to near extinction by the general population. When Gene is chosen to participate in the government-sponsored hunt for the remaining humans, he must learn the art of the hunt but also elude his fellow hunters whose suspicions about his true human nature are growing… A gory, gripping thriller for young adults from acclaimed author Andrew Fukuda.

READ BY TREVOR WHITE

COMING SOON

OLIVER TWIST – Charles Dickens – Read by Dominic Cooper

THE JUNGLE BOOK – Rudyard Kipling – Read by Alistair McGowan

DOCTOR WHO & THE LEISURE HIVE – David Fisher

WHEN HOOPOES GO TO HEAVEN – Gaile Parkin

MISSING PERSONS – Nicci Gerrard

DOCTOR WHO: SNAKEBITE – Scott Handcock

LIONEL ASBO: STATE OF ENGLAND – Martin Amis

PAINTER OF SILENCE – Georgina Harding

NEUROMANCER – William Gibson – Read by Jeff Harding

So as you can see, it has been a busy 6 months, and the titles are building up already for the next 6 months, with two new trilogies we are producing with SNK Publishing for Audible, and some exciting new titles for AudioGO.  Keep on supporting audiobooks and do let us know what you think of any of the titles we’ve produced.

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2011 – A Year In Audiobooks

So, 2011 comes to a close, and as we wave bye bye I thought I would look back at what this year has meant for me as an audiobook producer, editor and publisher.  The most exciting thing was the launch of Ladbroke Audio, with Tanja (my fiance)…a dedicated audiobook production company that seems to be doing great business already. The saddest thing was the death of the lovely Elisabeth Sladen, who I had had the honour of producing several times for SJA audiobooks.  A massive thank you to PAUL KENT & MERILYN HARRIS for stepping in to help produce a few of the titles when I fell ill or was too busy elsewhere.  Also mahoosive thanks to MICHAEL, KATE, JESS, JEN, CLAIRE, EMMA and all the gang at AudioGO for keeping us in employment and being such good friends.  Big thanks to our friends SEB, KAYV, SAM & the gang at SNK Studios, our partners in crime for 99% of all the audios we produce. And a big thanks to the team at Random House Audio for taking a chance on us this year…we look forward to more audio grooviness with you in 2012.

It has been a bumper year for titles, so let’s dive in to the chewiness:

ALL ALIENS LIKE BURGERS by RUTH WHEELER – Read by DEBBIE CHAZEN – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Young, polite and intelligent Tom Bowler has barely ever ventured out of the small English town where he grew up. So when he applies for a job in a fast food restaurant at a “local” service station during his gap year he is rather surprised to discover that the vacancy is in fact based on Truxxe, a planetoid stationed between local galaxies Triangulum and Andromeda. Hes surprised further still to find himself becoming friends with a purple alien and that he has strange feelings for his android supervisor, Miss Lola. Tom soon discovers that Truxxe has many hidden secrets – just what makes it so special? And why is its terrain so rich and varied that it can be used for fuelling such a diverse variety of intergalactic spacecraft? What are the Glorbian space pirate brothers Schlomm and Hannond plotting? And just what is it that they put in those burgers?

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BEHIND THE BLACK DOOR by SARAH BROWN – Read by SARAH BROWN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Today, Gordon’s words are simple and heartfelt. He promises, as his own school motto said, to do his utmost. I know that the same will go for me, too. We turn to the door, greeting the policeman on duty. It is time to play our part in contributing to what happens next in government and a new life behind the black door.’  In this personal memoir about life at 10 Downing Street, Sarah Brown shares the secrets of living behind the most famous front door in the world. Sarah gave up a successful career in business to serve the country and champion countless charities at home and abroad. A passionate campaigner for women and children, she mobilised hundreds of thousands of people through her early adoption of Twitter where her legion of followers engaged with her on everything from repression in Burma to diversity in British fashion.  If you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to travel with special branch, pack for a photo call with supermodels or pause a speech in front of hundreds when the autocue fails, it’s all here – from what to do when the school play clashes with a visit to the White House to what it feels like to support the man you love as he takes tough decisions to stave off global financial meltdown… Intimate, reflective, surprising and funny, ‘Behind the Black Door’ takes us backstage to reveal what it’s like to be an ordinary woman, wife and mother in extraordinary circumstances.

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DOCTOR WHO: THE GLAMOUR CHASE by GARY RUSSELL – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

An archaeological dig in 1936 unearths relics of another time… And – as the Doctor, Amy and Rory realise – another place. Another planet.  But if Enola Porter, noted adventuress, has really found evidence of an alien civilization, how come she isn’t famous? Added to that, since Amy’s been travelling with him for a while, why does she think the Doctor is from Mars?  As the ancient spaceship reactivates, the Doctor discovers that nothing and no-one can be trusted. The things that seem most real could actually be literal fabrications – and very deadly indeed. Who can the Doctor believe when no one is what they seem? And how can he defeat an enemy who can bend matter itself?

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SEX LIFE by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – Read by DR PAMELA STEPHENSON CONNOLLY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

When did your sexual experiences start? Are you having more virtual sex than real sex? Can you have too much or not enough sex? What exactly is ‘normal’?  Bestselling author and leading sex therapist, Pamela Stephenson-Connolly takes us on an eye-opening journey to explode the myths and answer the embarrassing questions we’ve always wanted to ask about sex and our insatiable appetite for it.  Drawing on hundreds of intimate interviews with ordinary people of all ages, appetites and backgrounds, Stephenson-Connolly reveals how the ever-present sexual force in each of us evolves throughout our lives, from our first months in the womb up right until our nineties. She also shows that there is no such thing as ‘normal’ and that anything goes when it comes to sex as long as it is safe, sane and consensual. The result is an intimate portrait of our sexual selves that dispels the myths, guilt and mystery surrounding sex and our sexual urges.  Read by the author with Katherine Fenton, Tania Rich, Simon Shepherd and Bill Wallis. Hugely informative, always entertaining and at times shocking, this is arguably one of the most enlightening books on sex ever published.

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THE CAPTURE OF CERBERUS/THE INCIDENT OF THE DOG’S BALL by AGATHA CHRISTIE – Read by DAVID SUCHET – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Two recently-rediscovered Hercule Poirot short stories by Agatha Christie, read by David Suchet.  In 2004, a remarkable archive was unearthed at Agatha Christie’s family home, Greenway – 73 of her private notebooks, filled with pencilled jottings and ideas. Hidden within this literary treasure trove were two rare, never-before-published short stories, discovered by archivist John Curran and published in his book ‘Agatha Christie’s Secret Notebooks: Fifty Years of Mysteries in the Making’.  ‘The Capture of Cerberus’ was intended to be the twelfth in her collection of Poirot stories, ‘The Labours of Hercules’, but she eventually rewrote it, keeping only the title. In this first, original version, Poirot is holidaying in Geneva, trying to take his mind off the impending war. But a chance meeting with an old acquaintance leads to an investigation involving a Nazi dictator and an enormous hound… ‘The Incident of the Dog’s Ball’, probably written in 1933, was reworked as the novel ‘Dumb Witness’ (1937) with a different murderer and motive. In it, Poirot receives a letter from an elderly lady, written two months before and asking for help. Now she is dead, and Poirot is convinced that her beloved terrier Bob holds the key to her death…

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THE JUST SO STORIES by RUDYARD KIPLING – Read by DAVID WARNER – ABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

Have you ever wondered how it is that the moon pulls the tides (instead of a crab who was taller than the smoke of three volcanoes), or the reason why the elephant’s nose is so long? Find out as Rudyard Kipling’s classic children’s stories are brought to vivid life in this enchanting  production first performed at the Pleasance Theatre in Edinburgh in August 2011. The perfect show for children aged 4+ and for adults of all ages. In this all-new audio adaptation of the smash-hit theatre show, legendary actor DAVID WARNER lends his voice to five of Kipling’s finest fare, while the Red Table Theatre cast perform five of their unique songs from the live show (in all-new recordings made especially for Spokenworld Audio).

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HOPE & GLORY: THE DAYS THAT MADE BRITAIN by STUART MACONIE – Read by STUART MACONIE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

‘These were the days that made us, and these are the day trips to find them. Should we do a flask? And are you sure you’ll be warm enough in that coat?’  In ‘Hope and Glory’ Stuart Maconie goes in search of the places, people and events that have shaped modern Britain. Starting with the death of Queen Victoria, to the Battle of the Somme and the General Strike, and on to the docking of the Empire Windrush and Bobby Moore raising the Jules Rimet trophy, he chooses a defining moment in our nation’s story from each decade of the last century and explores its legacy today.  Some were glorious days, some were tragic, or even shameful, but each has played its part in making us who we are as a nation. From pop stars to politicians, Suffragettes to punks, this is a journey around Britain in search of who we are.

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DAVE GORMAN VS. THE REST OF THE WORLD by DAVE GORMAN – Read by DAVE GORMAN – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Remember when you were a kid, and you used to go round to a friend’s house to see if they were playing? Well, as adults we’re not supposed to do that. Which is a shame… because Dave Gorman likes playing. He REALLY likes games. So he knocked on the biggest door you could ever imagine – the internet – and asked 76,000 people if they fancied a game. This is the story of what happened next.  Dave was up for anything and gamely played them at whatever they chose. He played some classics – Monopoly, Scrabble, dominoes and cribbage. He played many games he’d never heard of before – Khet, Kubb, Tikal or Smite anyone?  He played board games and physical games. He’s thrown sticks, balls, frisbees and darts. He’s rolled dice and he’s drawn cards.  From Liverpool to Hampstead and from Croydon to Nottingham, Dave travelled the length and breadth of Britain meeting strangers in strange places – their homes, at work, in the back rooms of pubs – and getting some hardcore game action. From casual players to serious game geeks, from the rank amateur to the world champion, he discovered a nation of gamers more than happy to welcome him into their midst.  He’s travelled all around the country and met all sorts of people – and it turns out us Brits are a competitive bunch! And it seems that playing games can teach you a lot about what makes the British tick. Of course, Dave hasn’t been keeping score. Much.

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 1 – Eps 1-25) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

The first 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series. Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia to this fascinating narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union finally lost its grip on power. Power struggles have a constant presence in his story, from the Mongol hordes that invaded in the 13th century, through the iron autocratic fists of successive Tsars. Ivan the Terrible, Catherine the Great, Peter the Great – all left their mark on a nation that pursued expansion to the East, West and South. Many Tsars flirted with reform, but the gap between the rulers and the ruled widened until, in 1917, the doomed last Tsar, Nicholas II, abdicated. The first part of Sixsmith’s history ends with Lenin and the Bolsheviks forcing through the final Revolution and paving the way for the Communist state. Eyewitness accounts and readings from Russian authors and historians, from Pushkin to Solzhenitsyn, enhance this fascinating account, as well as music taken from a wide range of Russian composers including Glinka, Tchaikovsky, Borodin and Shostakovich.  Martin Sixsmith traces Russia’s turbulent 1000-year history from its founding to the Revolution.

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DOCTOR WHO: HUNTER’S MOON by PAUL FINCH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘There’s no end to the horror in this place – it’s like Hell, and there are devils round every corner.’  On Leisure Platform 9 gamblers and villains mix with socialites and celebrities. It’s a place where you won’t want to win the wrong game. With Rory kidnapped by a brutal crime lord, the Doctor and Amy infiltrate a deadly contest where fugitives become the hunted. But how long before they realise the Doctor isn’t a vicious mercenary and discover what Amy is up to? It’s a game that can only end in death, and time for everyone is running out. Read by Arthur Darvill, ‘Hunter’s Moon’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: TOUCHED BY AN ANGEL by JONATHAN MORRIS – Read by CLARE CORBETT – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The past is like a foreign country. Nice to visit, but you really wouldn’t want to live there.’  In 2003, Rebecca Whitaker died in a road accident. Her husband Mark is still grieving. He receives a battered envelope, posted eight years ago, containing a set of instructions with a simple message: ‘You can save her.’  As Mark is given the chance to save Rebecca, it’s up to the Doctor, Amy and Rory to save the whole world. Because this time the Weeping Angels are using history itself as a weapon.  Read by Clare Corbett, ‘Touched by an Angel’ features the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – TSAR WARS by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the first of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey. In a distant galaxy, the Tsar and Tsarina rule over the Robotov Empire from the safety of their palace, whilst human workers tend the power plants on satellite moons.  When the Doctor arrives with Mrs Wibbsey, his identity is immediately mistaken, and the Tsarina believes that her old ally, Father Gregory, has returned. But when the Palace comes under attack, the Tsar suspects him of treachery.  Meanwhile, Mrs Wibbsey discovers that dark secrets are lurking in the shadows of one satellite moon. Far more than mere human rebellion is being planned, and Father Gregory is not operating alone. His actions will set off a chain of events with long-lasting consequences for the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE BROKEN CROWN by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the second of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  The year is 1861, and the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey find themselves in the right place at the wrong time. At the rectory they encounter the ill-tempered Reverend Dobbs and his young ward Andrew, whose paper faces hide whatever horrors lie beneath. Tutoring him is one Mr Bewley, whom Mrs Wibbsey is startled to recognise.  In Hexford Woods, the Doctor uncovers a secret which Andrew and his friends have been keeping. As the truth begins to emerge about the rectory’s occupants, it also becomes clear why so many people have disappeared from the village. Unless the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey can help, the whole village will soon be terrorised by a child’s imagination…

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – ALADDIN TIME by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the third of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey.  Trapped underground, the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey encounter a small boy who claims to be Aladdin, in search of a fabled lamp. He joins them on their own quest, to find a power source in this weird domain and switch it off.  Many obstacles lie in their way. Vast rooms stuffed with exotic items give way to torch-lit tunnels and deadly precipices. Creatures of mythical proportions lie in wait. Peculiar atmospheres take their toll on them. Perhaps strangest of all, the Doctor’s multi-coloured scarf appears to take on a life of its own…  As friends are separated and uneasy alliances are formed, the strange environment attempts to claim them. Will the Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey ever get back to Hexford? And will Aladdin discover who he really is?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – THE HEXFORD INVASION by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fourth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It’s been many months since the Doctor was in Hexford, and Mrs Wibbsey keenly feels his absence. As her grave suspicions about her new neighbour grow, she is in danger of becoming ostracised from village life. When Mike Yates turns up at Nest Cottage with a visitor in tow, Mrs Wibbsey’s life is turned even further upside down. Why has this strange new fellow appeared – and can he really be who Mike thinks he is?  With UNIT watching the skies, and a strange forest growing daily around the village perimeter, it comes as little surprise when an enormous spaceship slides into view and dominates the skyline. Who is watching Hexford, and what do they want? Never has Mrs Wibbsey needed the Doctor more. But can she cope with two…?

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DOCTOR WHO: SERPENT CREST – SURVIVORS IN SPACE by PAUL MAGRS – Starring TOM BAKER – FULL CAST – AudioGO Ltd

Tom Baker stars as the Fourth Doctor in the fifth of five thrilling brand new adventures, with Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, and David Troughton as the Visitor.  It has been three months since the Hexford catastrophe, and Mike Yates is trying to show strength of leadership to the villagers. But with morale low and supplies running out, it is increasingly difficult to keep his own hopes up. Unless somebody finds them soon, the future looks bleak.  So when the TARDIS materialises on the village green, it seems that help has arrived at last. But with two Doctors apparently at large, there is still the small matter of what was buried under Nest Cottage – not to mention who is clamouring to break through the protective force field. Soon Hexford is under siege once again, and this time an ancient hunger will be sated. Time has run out for the keepers of the Skishtari egg…

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RUSSIA: THE WILD EAST (Part 2 – Eps 26-50) – Written & Presented by MARTIN SIXSMITH – RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 & AudioGO Ltd

Martin Sixsmith continues his history of Russia, from the tumultuous events of 1917 to the country’s re-emergence as one of the world’s most powerful nations.  After the whirlwind of the revolution, the Bolsheviks struggled to consolidate their victory. To rescue the economy and save the regime, Lenin made concessions to the people. But after his death, Stalin introduced forced collectivisation and industrialisation, condemning the Soviet people to conditions worse than those experienced under the Tsars. Nikita Khrushchev reversed the worst excesses of Stalinism, and in 1985 Mikhail Gorbachev embarked on radical reforms of the communist system – unleashing unforeseen consequences that swept him from power and destroyed the USSR.  Martin Sixsmith brings his firsthand experience of reporting from Russia in the 1980s and ‘90s to his narrative, witnessing the critical moment when the Soviet Union lost its grip on power. He asks if the recurring patterns of Russian history can help us understand what has happened since 1991, when the promise of Western-style democracy aroused so many hopes for change.  Eyewitness accounts, archive recordings and personal testimony enrich his narrative, as well as readings from Russian authors and historians such as Alexander Solzhenitsyn and Vasily Grossman, plus music by Stravinsky, Prokofiev and others.  The final 25 episodes from the landmark BBC Radio series.

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THINGS I COULDN’T TELL MY MOTHER by SUE JOHNSTON – Read by SUE JOHNSTON – UNABRIDGED – Random House AUdio & AudioGO Ltd

‘There was a lot that we kept from my mother. My dad would say to me as a teenager “Don’t tell your mother.” We couldn’t face the disapproval.’  Sue Johnston always seemed to be disappointing her mother. As a girl she never stayed clean and tidy like her cousins. As she grew older, she spent all her piano lesson money on drinks for her mates down the pub, and when she discovered the Cavern she was never at home. The final straw was when Sue left her steady job at a St Helens factory to try her hand at that unsteadiest of jobs: acting.  Yet when Sue was bringing up her own child alone, her mother was always there to help. And playing her much-loved characters Sheila Grant and Barbara Royle – although her mum wouldn’t say she was proud as such, she certainly seemed to approve. And in her mother’s final months, it was Sue she needed by her side.  The relationship with your mother is perhaps the most precious and fraught of any woman’s life. When she began writing, Sue set out to record ‘all the big things, and all the small things. Everything I wanted to tell my mother but felt I never could’. The result is a warm, poignant and often very funny memoir by one of Britain’s favourite actresses.

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THE GOOD, THE BAD & THE MULTIPLEX by MARK KERMODE – Read by MARK KERMODE – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

In It’s Only a Movie, the incomparable Mark Kermode showed us the weird world of a film critic’s life lived in widescreen. Now, in The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex, he takes us into the belly of the beast to ask: ‘What’s wrong with modern movies?’  If blockbusters make money no matter how bad they are, then why not make a good one for a change? How can 3-D be the future of cinema when it’s been giving audiences a headache for over a hundred years? Why pay to watch films in cinemas that don’t have a projectionist but do have a fast-food stand? And, in a world in which Sex and the City 2 was a hit, what the hell are film critics for?  Outspoken, opinionated and hilariously funny, The Good, The Bad and The Multiplex is a must for anyone who has ever sat in an undermanned, overpriced cinema and asked themselves: ‘How the hell did things get to be this terrible?’

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DOCTOR WHO: PARADOX LOST by GEORGE MANN – Read by NICHOLAS BRIGGS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘The Squall feed on psychic energy. They spread like a plague and if they are not stopped they will strip the Earth clean…’  London 1910: an unsuspecting thief finds himself confronted by grey-skinned creatures that are waiting to devour his mind. London 2789: the remains of an ancient android are dredged from the Thames. When reactivated it has a warning that can only be delivered to a man named ‘the Doctor’.  The Doctor and his friends must solve a mystery that has spanned over a thousand years. If they fail, the deadly alien Squall will devour the world…  Read by Nicholas Briggs, this is a thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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DOCTOR WHO: BORROWED TIME by NAOMI A ALDERMAN – Read by MEERA SYAL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

‘You want more time Mr Brown, of course you do. We all want more time. Let me make you an offer…’  Andrew Brown never has enough time. No time to call his sister, or to prepare for that important presentation at the bank where he works. The train’s late, the lift jams. If only he’d had just a little more time. And time is the business of Mr Symington and Mr Blenkinsop. They’ll lend him some – at a very reasonable rate of interest.  Detecting a problem, the Doctor, Amy and Rory go undercover at the bank. But they have to move fast to stop Symington and Blenkinsop before they cash in their investments.  Read by Meera Syal, this is a thrilling all-new adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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SAPPHIRE BATTERSEA by JACQUELINE WILSON – Read by FINTY WILLIAMS – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Finty Williams reads this warm, funny and moving sequel to Jacqueline Wilson’s hugely acclaimed ‘Hetty Feather’.  Hetty Feather was given her name when she was left at the Foundling Hospital as a baby. But she always longed to be named after her incredible sapphire-blue eyes. When she is reunited with her mother, she hopes her new name, Sapphire Battersea, will also mean a new life. But things don’t always go as planned…  Follow the twists and turns of Hetty’s adventures as she begins work.  She longs to be reunited with her dear Jem, but also finds a new friend, Bertie the butcher’s boy. Despite her hopes for the future, Hetty’s life seems likely to take a darker path. Can she cope with the trials ahead?  A fantastic story set in Victorian times that Jacqueline Wilson fans will adore.

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THE SHADOW OVER INNSMOUTH by HP LOVECRAFT – Read by RICHARD COYLE – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The perfect HP Lovecraft title to follow on from 2010’s “At The Mountains Of Madness”, and the only HPL title not to appear in a periodical! Perfect also because it is split in to 5 distinct chapters…ripe for abridgement in to five half hour episodes! “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” tells the first-person story of a young historian, Robert Olmstead, who, while investigating his family genealogy in New England, is intrigued to learn about a hated and mysterious fishing-town called Innsmouth. When he visits he finds the place to be run-down and near-deserted, with a cult-like religion and a strange, degenerate population. His investigation soon turns in to a race to escape the town and the the evil creatures he sees emerging from the sea.  “The Shadow Over Innsmouth” was written by HP Lovecraft in 1931 and is the only one of his works of fiction not to have initially been published as part of a periodical. It continues HPL’s Cthulhu Mythos, featuring townspeople worshipping the elder sea god Dagon and mentioning the mysterious Shoggoth creature of his other works. This 2011 adaptation comprises 5 episodes, originally aired on BBC Radio 4 Extra, once again read by the superb RICHARD COYLE and featuring music by acclaimed composer JON NICHOLLS. The series is offered here in exclusive EXTENDED EDITIONS. You will find an additional 30 mins of mystery-filled audio within these five episodes!

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DARK MARKET by MISHA GLENNY – Read by MISHA GLENNY – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

The benefits of living in a digital, globalised society are enormous; so too are the dangers.  The world has become a law enforcer’s nightmare and every criminal’s dream. We bank online, shop online, date, learn, work and live online. But have the institutions that keep us safe on the streets learned to protect us in the burgeoning digital world? Have we become complacent about our personal security – sharing our thoughts, beliefs and the details of our daily lives with anyone who cares to relieve us of them?  In this fascinating and compelling book, Misha Glenny, author of the international bestseller ‘McMafia’, explores the three fundamental threats facing us in the 21st century: cyber crime, cyber warfare and cyber industrial espionage. Governments and the private sector are losing billions of dollars each year, fighting an ever-morphing, often invisible, often super-smart new breed of criminal: the hacker.  Glenny has travelled and trawled the world. And by exploring the rise and fall of the criminal website DarkMarket, he has uncovered the most vivid, alarming and illuminating stories. Whether JiLsi or Matrix, Iceman, Master Splynter or Lord Cyric; whether Detective Sergeant Chris Dawson in Scunthorpe or Agent Keith Mularski in Pittsburgh, Glenny has tracked down and interviewed all the players – the criminals, the geeks, the police, the security experts and the victims – and he places everyone and everything in a rich brew of politics, economics and history.  The result is simply totally absorbing. DarkMarket is authoritative and completely engrossing. It’s a must-have for everyone who uses a computer: the essential crime guide for our times.

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DIARY OF A DOG WALKER by EDWARD STOURTON – Read by EDWARD STOURTON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Edward Stourton’s columns, recording his regular excursions with Kudu, the Springer spaniel, appeared fortnightly in the Telegraph from May 2009 until September 2010. They form the basis for this witty, charming and revealing book of canine musings. Ed’s focus might momentarily seem trivial, but his canvas proves to be immeasurably wide. Kudu’s small trips to the park offer big insights into romantic attachment, warfare, guilt and depression, honour and heroism, our sense of duty, beauty and the hard facts of life’s pecking order.

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MAY I HAVE YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE? by JAMES CORDON – Read by JAMES CORDON – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

As far back as he can remember James Corden has only ever wanted to be in one place: in front of you, doing something to make you laugh, cry, shout, or giggle uncontrollably. At the age of 4, he grandstanded throughout his baby sister’s christening, standing on a chair in front of the whole congregation, pulling faces and cracking everyone up. Despite himself, the vicar was impressed. And from then on he couldn’t get enough of the spotlight, even when it always seemed to avoid him. Throughout his teens, he and his Dad trudged up and down towards London, getting closer and closer to landing a gig, only to be told ‘No’ at the last stage. But he never gave up and soon found his whole life turned upside down and inside out by his experience as one Alan Bennett’s History Boys. From that moment forth, he’s never looked back.  May I Have Your Attention Please? is the warm, cheeky, surprisingly honest and hilarious story of one of our most popular comedy talents. From his antics as one of the founding players of his high-school’s first ever rugby team to gaining recognition in the West End, to nationwide fame as the loveably loud Smithy in the award-winning Gavin and Stacey, this is a tenderly told story of what it’s like to try, try and try again and – happily – get there in the end.

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BRUNG UP PROPER by JASON MANFORD – Read by JASON MANFORD – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio

Jason Manford is firmly established as one of the country’s favourite stand-ups and is up there with the best northern comedy legends. His career began one night in a pub in Chorlton when a comedian didn’t arrive for his set and Jason, the 17-year-old glass collector stepped in to fill the gap. From that point on he’s never looked back, until now that is….  This is the story in his own words of everything that lead up to that fateful moment – a colourful tale of growing up with lots of family and not enough money, of getting by and sticking together. It is a story of his shameless extended clan of wayward uncles and singing nans and a gobby little knobhead at the heart of it all called Jason. Featuring rock-hard great granddads, doting grandparents, pub-crooning nanas, football-mad dads, pet-obsessed mums, more dodgy uncles than you can shake a stick at, failed exams, dead-end jobs, paper rounds, prostitutes, shocked priests, manslaughter, winning goals, sudden losses, replica shirts, chip-fat incidents, scary pubs, pet meat, fighting Gandhis, cancelled Christmases, Sir Oswald Mosley, flooded tents, call centres, circumcision, puppy love, friends for life, difficult girlfriends, gigs from hell, heart break and, finally, true love….  With his laugh-out-loud tales of coming of age, Jason shows he’s a generous storyteller and as natural an observer as he is on stage.

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THE TALES OF MAX CARRADOS by ERNEST BRAMAH – Read by ARTHUR DARVILL – ABRIDGED/RADIO SERIES – BBC Radio 4 Extra & Spokenworld Audio

The tales of Max Carrados lie squarely in the classic English detective tradition, told in plain though polished prose. Max is an omniscient blind amateur detective with a wry sense of humour. Arthur Darvill reads five of his brings five of his finest adventures to life.  Max Carrados featured in a series of mystery books that first appeared in 1914. Carrados featured alongside Sherlock Holmes in the “Strand” magazine in which they both had top billing. The character often boasted how being blind meant his other senses were heightened. The author Ernest Bramah excelled in his detailed writing and uncovering of clues. The beneficiary of a large inheritance from an American relative, Carrados is foremost a gentleman who undertakes sleuthing only as an avocation. Though equipped with a keen observer in the perfect manservant Parkinson, the blind Carrados does not merely sit around deducing: he makes his own observations with ears, nose and fingertips. Carrados makes a point of noticing what others don’t, in his case precisely because, as he says, “I have no blundering, self-confident eyes to be hoodwinked.” Instead he uses careful deduction, his four other senses, and the well-trained eye of his manservant. Carrados’ friend Carlyle, a private investigator, serves as his Watson – he is just dense enough to require an explanation of how Carrados has solved each crime. Ellery Queen calls this first volume of his adventures, “One of the ten best volumes of detective shorts ever written!

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DOCTOR WHO: THE STEALERS OF DREAMS by STEVE LYONS – Read by CAMILLE CODURI – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

In the far future, the Doctor, Rose and Captain Jack find a world on which fiction has been outlawed. A world where it’s a crime to tell stories, a crime to lie, a crime to hope, and a crime to dream.  But now somebody is challenging the status quo. A pirate TV station urges people to fight back. And the Doctor wants to help until he sees how easily dreams can turn into nightmares.  With one of his companions stalked by shadows and the other committed to an asylum, the Doctor is forced to admit that fiction can be dangerous after all. Though perhaps it is not as deadly as the truth.  Read by Camille Coduri, this is a gripping adventure featuring the Ninth Doctor as played by Christopher Eccleston, together with Rose and Captain Jack as played by Billie Piper and John Barrowman in the hit series from BBC Television.

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TORCHWOOD: LONG TIME DEAD by SARAH PINBOROUGH – Read by INDIRA VARMA – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Indira Varma reads this thrilling Torchwood adventure – a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’.  Cardiff Bay. The government has ordered the excavation of the wreckage of a secret underground base. DCI Tom Cutler is watching from a distance, fascinated by the process. There are people in his dreams. People he feels he should know.  The disbanded Torchwood Institute spent a century accumulating non-terrestrial artefacts and catching aliens. Who knows what – or who – might still be intact down there. But by the time they find the first body, Suzie Costello is long gone.  Based on the hit series created by Russell T. Davies, ‘Long Time Dead’ is a prequel to ‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’, starring John Barrowman and Eve Myles as Jack Harkness and Gwen Cooper. It features Suzie Costello, as played by Indira Varma.

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DOCTOR WHO: THE SILENT STARS GO BY by DAN ABNETT – Read by MICHAEL MALONEY – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Michael Maloney reads this original adventure by Dan Abnett, featuring the Eleventh Doctor, Amy and Rory.  For centuries the Maintainers have worked. With no help from other worlds, they subsist on the food they can grow and that’s little enough. But their purpose, their whole life, is to maintain the machines that will one day make their world as habitable as old Earth. Life used to be hard. Now as crops fail, livestock sicken, and the temperature drops, it’s becoming impossible. This year’s Winter Season Feast won’t be the usual celebration. It’s no time for optimism or hope – or to welcome unexpected guests. The Doctor, Amy and Rory find a society breaking apart – and then the Doctor’s old enemies the Ice Warriors make their move. With the cold-hearted threat of invasion, the real battle for survival begins. Or does it? The Doctor suspects that behind everything lies a deadlier, even more chilling danger…  A thrilling adventure featuring the Doctor, Amy and Rory, as played by Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill in the spectacular hit series from BBC Television.

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ELISABETH SLADEN: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY by ELISABETH SLADEN – Read by CAROLINE JOHN – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Caroline John reads the captivating autobiography of Elisabeth Sladen, with a foreword by David Tennant and a postscript by Brian and Sadie Miller.  When Elisabeth Sladen first appeared as plucky journalist Sarah Jane Smith in the 1973 ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘The Time Warrior’, little did she know her character would become one of the most enduring of the series’ long history, and one of the all-time favourite companions. She left the TARDIS in 1976, but reprised the role of Sarah Jane many times, as well as touring the world of ‘Doctor Who’ fandom. So when Russell T. Davies approached her to star in ‘The Sarah Jane Adventures’, how could she refuse? This warm, witty autobiography, completed only months before Elisabeth died in April 2011, tells her remarkable story, from humble beginnings in post-war Liverpool, through an acclaimed theatrical career, to ‘Coronation Street’, ‘Some Mothers Do ’Ave ’Em’ and the furthest reaches of the Universe. A unique, insider’s view of the world’s longest-running sci-fi series, Elisabeth’s memoir is funny, insightful and entertaining and a fitting tribute to a woman who will be sadly missed by millions. Caroline John, actress and friend of Elisabeth Sladen, played companion Liz Shaw in ‘Doctor Who’. David Tennant was the Tenth Doctor in the hit BBC TV series. Brian and Sadie Miller are Elisabeth Sladen’s husband and daughter.

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DEATH COMES TO PEMBERLEY by PD JAMES – Read by SHEILA MITCHELL – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

P. D. James masterfully recreates the world of Pride and Prejudice, and combines it with the excitement and suspense of a brilliantly-crafted crime story.  The year is 1803, and Darcy and Elizabeth have been married for six years. There are now two handsome and healthy sons in the nursery, Elizabeth’s beloved sister Jane and her husband Bingley live nearby, and the orderly world of Pemberley seems unassailable. But all this is threatened when, on the eve of the annual autumn ball while the guests are preparing to retire for the night, a chaise appears, rocking down the path from Pemberley’s wild woodland. As it pulls up, Lydia Wickham – Elizabeth’s younger, unreliable sister – stumbles out screaming that her husband has been murdered.  Death Comes to Pemberley – inspired by P. D. James’s lifelong passion for the work of Jane Austen – is a distinguished work of fiction from one of the best-loved and most-read writers of our time.

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DOCTOR WHO: EARTHSHOCK by IAN MARTER – Read by PETER DAVISON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Peter Davison reads this exciting novelisation of a classic Doctor Who adventure in which the Fifth Doctor encounters the Cybermen.  A group of palaeontologists have been savagely attacked while carrying out a study of fossilised dinosaur remains in an underground cave system on twenty-fifth century Earth.  A party of troopers and Professor Kyle, the only survivor of the attack, are investigating the deaths of her colleagues when they discover the Doctor and his companions at the site of the massacre. The time-travellers are immediately suspected. In trying to establish their innocence and find out who – or what – was responsible for the killings, the Doctor is confronted by an old enemy…  The Fifth Doctor himself, Peter Davison, reads Ian Marter’s complete and unabridged novelisation, first published by Target Books in 1983, whilst Nicholas Briggs provides the authentic voice of the Cybermen.

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DOCTOR WHO – By MARK MORRIS – Details TBC – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Only just finished this one, so there are no details to share with you just yet.  But I can tell you that it is an exclusive 1 hr audio adventure, read by one of the stars of the 2011 DW Xmas Special!

COMING SOON

SPIRAL by RODERICK GORDON – Read by PAUL CHEQUER – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The Styx have surfaced… If you thought the Limiters were nasty, think again. This time it’s their females that provide the creepiest surprise. And all that stands in their way are Will and his friends – and a rag-bag team of retired commandos. It’s a smoking spiral of chaos…  The fifth fantastic adventure in the ‘Tunnels’ series for older children, from acclaimed authors Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams. Read by Paul Chequer.

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WHY BE HAPPY WHEN YOU COULD BE NORMAL? by JEANETTE WINTERSON – Read by JEANETTE WINTERSON – UNABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

The shocking, heart-breaking – and often very funny – true story behind Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit.  

`Vivid, unpredictable, and sometimes mind-rattling memoir… This book… which had been funny enough to make me laugh out loud more times than is advisable on the No 12 bus – turns into something raw and unnerving’ —-Julie Myerson, the Observer

`This is certainly the most moving book of Winterson’s I have ever read… but it wriggles with humour… At one point I was crying so much I had tears in my ears. There is much here that is impressive, but what I find most unusual about it is the way it deepens one’s sympathy, for everyone involved’ —-Zoe Williams, the Guardian

`In the 26 years since the publication of her highly acclaimed first novel, Oranges are Not the Only Fruit, Jeanette Winterson has proved herself a writer of startling invention, originality and style. Her combination of the magical and the earthy, the rapturous and the matter-of-fact, is unique. It is a strange and felicitous gift, as if the best of Gabriel Garcia Marquez was combined with the best of Alan Bennett… This remarkable account is, among other things, a powerful argument for reading… This memoir is brave and beautiful, a testament to the forces of intelligence, heart and imagination. It is a marvellous book and generous one’ —-Cressida Connolly, the Speactator

`Both inspiring and appalling, its cruellest details only made digestible by the restrained elegance of Winterson’s prose’ —-Fiona Sturges, Independent on Sunday

COMING SOON

THE BEE-MAN OF ORN & OTHER FANCIFUL TALES by FRANK R STOCKTON – Read by NEIL GARDNER – UNABRIDGED – Spokenworld Audio

A series of 9 fantastical tales from Frank R Stockton, including “The Bee-Man of Orn”, “Old Pipes & The Dryad”, “The Griffin & The Minor Cannon” and “Christmas Before Last”.  Released weekly over 9 weeks to build up a complete collection.

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THE CHIMP PARADOX by DR STEVE PETERS – Read by DR STEVE PETERS – UNABRIDGED – Random House Audio & AudioGO Ltd

Personal development book by Dr Steve Peters, the British Cycling team’s psychiatrist, in which he shares his phenomenal mind management programme for the first time.  Do you sometimes behave irrationally or impulsively? Do you face some situations with fear and trepidation? Do feelings of self-doubt consume everyday activities?  Leading Consultant Psychiatrist, Dr Steve Peters, knows more than anyone how impulsive behaviour or nagging self-doubt can impact negatively on our professional and personal lives.  In this, his first book, Steve shares his phenomenally successful mind management programme that has been used to help elite athletes and senior managers alike to conquer their fears and operate with greater control, focus and confidence.  Seemingly complex concepts are made simple with the use of memorable analogies — such as the ‘chimp’, that seemingly irrational and impulsive being that inhabits our minds — and real-life case studies. Never before will you have had such a deep and clear understanding of your own behaviour and natural responses to certain people or situations.  This knowledge, combined with simple techniques that can be easily incorporated into daily life, will help you to control your emotional impulses and reach your full potential, leading to success at work and a happier, harmonious home life.

COMING SOON

WHAT KATY DID by SUSAN COOLIDGE – Read by LORELEI KING – ABRIDGED – AudioGO Ltd

Gangly, quick-tempered Katy always means to be beautiful and beloved and as good as an angel one day, but meanwhile her resolutions somehow get forgotten or go horribly wrong. Until, one terrible day, the swing breaks… But it is still a long, eventful time before Katy learns to be as loving and patient as her beautiful, invalid Cousin Helen.

COMING SOON

JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD: STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN – Read by VARIOUS – UNABRIDGED/CHARITY – Spokenworld Audio

The recent devastation in Japan caused by the earthquake and tsunami has shocked the world. We at Spokenworld Audio, alongside our friends and partners at Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd are unashamed Japon-ophiles…we just love the place, the people and the culture. We have some great friends in Japan, and we felt it was important that we do what we could to help out.  JAPANESE FAIRY WORLD, STORIES FROM THE WONDER-LORE OF JAPAN has been produced by Neil Gardner at Ladbroke Productions in just a few days, with the incredible kind help and talents of many of the UK and US’s finest Voice Over artists. With beautiful music donated by Jon Nicholls and Seb & Kayvan at SNK Music (and additional music from AKM Music). Within you will find 25 short-stories from the rich heritage of Japanese folk-tales. From demons and gods, to the creation of the Earth and the naming of mountains.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: MARGARET THATCHER – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1975 to 1990, Margaret Thatcher talks about being a woman in politics; managing men and women; her response to the media attacks she received in the early days of her career, and the importance of wearing the right clothes. She also recalls her memories of home, including working in her father’s grocery shop; the radio and TV programmes she enjoyed (including ‘The Two Ronnies’) and following sports like cricket and tennis. Also mentioned are the time she met her husband Denis; her worries about her son Mark when he went missing in the Sahara desert; her interest in science, and her love of porcelain and sculpture. Lastly, she discusses her stamina and her worst moment as Prime Minister (during the Falklands War). BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: NOEL COWARD – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1960 to 1972, Noël Coward talks about being a legend; whether he is a cynical writer; his early days in acting and about his early reputation for upsetting fellow actors on stage. He also discusses acting with Laurence Olivier; his affection for the Navy; his film-making; his knighthood, and writing ‘Private Lives’ for his friend Gertrude Lawrence. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: TERENCE RATTIGAN – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the acclaimed playwright, whose centenary was celebrated in 2011, begins in 1969 with a radio appearance on Out This Week. It culminates with an interview for Kaleidoscope in 1977, recorded a few months before his death. Inbetween are several major radio features on Rattigan’s life and work, in which he discusses the craft of playwriting, the state of commercial theatre, comparisons with Coward and Pinter, his famous ‘everywoman’ character Aunt Edna, and several of his plays in detail including Flare Path, Cause Celebre, French Without Tears, The Winslow Boy and The Deep Blue Sea.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ROALD DAHL – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 1989, Roald Dahl talks about writing for children; his medical inventions to aid his ailing son and wife (the actress Patricia Neal) when they were seriously ill, and writing his short stories. He also covers his school days; military service; writing for films (including ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang’) and the link between cruelty and laughter. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: GLENDA JACKSON – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

This fascinating collection of archive interviews with the renowned actress and MP begins with a radio interview in 1970 and runs through to a guest appearance on Desert Island Discs in 1997. Along the way Glenda Jackson appears on numerous programmes including Parkinson, In The Psychiatrist’s Chair and Start the Week, during the course of which she discusses her background and early years, women in theatre, and her journey from being a highly successful actress to becoming a Member of Parliament (and Minister of Transport). In A Chance to Meet… and In The Hot Seat she faces the questions of an invited audience and discusses a wide range of topics.

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BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: ALFRED HITCHCOCK – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1955 to 1980, Alfred Hitchcock talks about the time he was locked in a police cell when he was a child and being typecast as a director of thrillers. He also discusses his early films; the advent of ‘talkies’; planning ‘Psycho’; American audiences; cinema techniques; horror films, and the influence of real crimes. He considers the difference between making films in America and Britain; the importance of lighting; his female leads, and being a practical joker. As well as critics, he also touches on avoiding clichés; murder in film; film editing and music; ‘The Birds’; the star factor in actors, and making comedies. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

BBC ARCHIVE VOICES: BRIAN CLOUGH – ARCHIVE AUDIO SERIES – AudioGO Ltd

In interviews ranging from 1972 to 2000, Brian Clough talks about ‘the real Brian Clough’ – how he is perceived by other people; his bluntness and forceful opinions, and what makes him a good football manager. He also discusses the prospect of becoming an MP; his dream job; football hysteria and hooliganism; his childhood and mother’s death; and being imitated by Mike Yarwood. He considers what people may say about him after his death; buying football players and having managerial ability, as well as sport on TV; leaving Nottingham Forest, and his very public falling out with Peter Taylor. BBC Archive Voices: shining a light on the icons of our time. BBC Archive Voices features interviews with some of the key figures from the fields of entertainment, sport, politics and literature – many of which haven’t been heard since their original transmission. This is a unique window into the past and is a chance for us to hear those who contributed to the richness of our cultural heritage. With access to the entire archive of BBC Radio and television, we can now witness some of the most lively, entertaining and informative encounters in BBC broadcasting. Due to the age and nature of this archive material, the sound quality may vary.

CLICK HERE TO BUY DIRECT FROM AUDIOGO

**************************************************************************************

It was also a pretty big year for my radio production company, Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd…but to list all those programmes would make this the world’s longest blog post ever!  Suffice to say, I am extremely proud of the international awards we won for some of our programmes, grateful to all of the producers, presenters, writers, actors and others who helped make another fine year of radio entertainment.  Huzzah!

2012 brings with it several new audiobooks already, plus a whole heap of new Archive Voices projects.  On the radio front we have over 10 new progs and series in the pipeline.  Over at Spokenworld Audio we are looking forward to a rebuild of the back-end of the online store, a massive increase in titles (fingers crossed for a tidy wee deal with our chums at AudioGO) and some very exciting new audiobook titles from our own production stable.

And my 2012 New Year resolution – reply to emails faster and get the businesses sleeker and more profitable.  Hire talented people and friends and grow the businesses.  Have fun and be creative.

And my 2012 wish – to get to produce and/or edit audios for Big Finish.  Nick and I have talked about it, so I just need to make it happen…fingers crossed!

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO ONE AND ALL…and thanks for continuing to support, RT and share our audio work.  Now get out there and buy some of it too 😉

Neil Gardner & Tanja Glittenberg (& the audio-editing kitty-cats), Dec 31st 2011

We’ll Miss You, Sarah-Jane

It is such a sad day…Elisabeth Sladen, our very own Sarah-Jane Smith, has passed away, aged 63.

She was an absolute hero of mine, an icon of my Doctor Who youth, a gorgeous, funny, vibrant, friendly, cheerful, intelligent and fabulous human being.

I feel incredibly honoured and fortunate enough to have worked with her producing her last four Sarah Jane Adventures audiobook adventures for AudioGo. Over two years we had some of the most fun in a studio I have ever had. And they are four of the productions I am most proud of. To hear Lis reading out my name as the producer was a moment that will resonate for me forever.

But what is more important is that Lis was a genuinely fantastic person…someone who cared passionately about her character, her work, her family, her friends and her colleagues. She was always as concerned for our time and wellbeing as her own.

The last time I saw her we swapped gifts…I got some signed SJA audiobooks (very much treasured items in our household) and she got a copy of “The Brightonomicon Audio Series” and “The Bumper Book of FICTS”. She told me later that the FICTS had given her a good laugh…now we are all aware of what she was going through, I hope that my ridiculous FICTS gave her some respite for just a few moments.

So we move on to a slightly colder world, without Lis or Sarah-Jane…but she’s still with us in our hearts and memories, and all those lovely shiny DVDs and Blu-Rays we can enjoy over and over again. But let me suggest this to you…once you’ve rewatched School Reunion, or the SJA series…grab yourself an SJA audiobook or three (or four, or five!) and head somewhere quiet and put your headphones on, and let Lis tell you some of her adventures herself…one-on-one. It’ll make you cry, but it’ll also make your heart sing with joy.

RIP Lis…you were, are and will always be, the greatest companion of them all!

Love, Neil, Tanja and all at Ladbroke Productions xxx

RECOMMENDED SJA AUDIOBOOKS FROM AUDIOGO:

  • The Shadow People
  • The White Wolf
  • Wraith World
  • The Deadly Download

PLUS OTHER GREAT SARAH-JANE AUDIOS FROM BIG FINISH!

Please Help The Stroke Association

It’s November 3rd once again, and for me a week of sadness, mourning, strange memories and a whole host of emotions starts, as it was 7 years ago that my best friend died suddenly from a stroke.  A year ago I posted a long piece about this, and instead of rehashing it all again I thought I would re-post it here.  Before I do…could I ask that if you have ANY spare money (and I know that is a daft thing in these times), would you please consider donating it to THE STROKE ASSOCIATION.  There is much work to be done to support survivors of strokes, those who care for them and to find ways to improve survival rates.  Stroke can hit anyone, of any age and any health.  Pete’s death devastated me, and still haunts me to this day.  My feelings of loss and guilt and anger are as strong today as they were 7 years ago.  I will never stop doing what I can to fight this evil monster…be it £5 or £500, every penny helps.  The website for donations is:

http://www.stroke.org.uk/donate/

Many thanks from me…and from Pete Barnes.  He may be gone, but he’s still with me everyday and pushing me to do better by myself and everyone around me.

N 🙂

Here’s that old post:

hornets_nest_stuff_125It’s just before midnight on Monday October 26th 2009, and after over 6 months work, I have finally completed the 5 episode that go to make up the DOCTOR WHO HORNETS’ NEST audio series, starring Tom Baker.  All the prep, recording sessions, rough editing, construction, SFX & atmos, fine editing, drafting, final editing and mastering…it is all done!  As I type this the final two master files, for episodes 4 and 5, are burning on to a DVD-Rom ready to be picked up by courier tomorrow lunchtime (we can’t trust the post in the UK right now!).  That courier will travel all the way from my home in Croydon (South East of London) to Bath (West Country near Bristol) and deliver the masters to the team at BBC Audiobooks who will then send them off to the duplication plant and thence on to distribution.  The third episode is out in a week or so and the final two CDs are released on the 14th December, just in time for Xmas!

DW Dead ShoesSo that’s it…no more WHO for me for the time being.  For the next few days I think I will be quite pleased about that fact.  Pleased that the deadlines have been hit, that the BBC bosses are happy with the series, that I’ve been a fairly important part of a pretty important new addition to the ongoing Whoniverse.  I’ll also be glad the work is done, I can send in the bill and I don’t have to spend every hour I have (including late nights and weekends) editing Dr Who audio.

But after a few days I fear the withdrawal symptoms will start.  No more WHO?!  What am I going to do?  I have loved being a part of this mad and crazy adventure.  Working with Tom, and Richard Franklin, and Rula Lenska…chatting with Paul the writer, talking SFX with Michael the commissioning editor, and most of all playing around with audio with the gorgeous Kate the producer/director.  I want more, more, more!  As you can imagine, I’ll be pushing the BBC Audiobook teams to let me produce and edit more of the DW audio adventures as soon as possible.  And you never know, at some point the “Doctor Who And The Dalek Invasion Of Earth” audiobook I produced earlier this year will finally be released!

drwho_hn_circus_doom_300So I am going to miss being a daily part of the Whoniverse, yes indeed.  But I want to say a few words about another loss I feel at this time, related to all this Who-tastic stuff I’ve had the honour to work on.

On November 5th this year (just a week away), it will be the sixth anniversary of the death of my best friend, Pete Barnes.  He died, aged 30, of a massive stroke…there were no signs or warnings, it came on suddenly one Sunday afternoon while we were playing a computer game in the flat we shared.  By the following morning he was gone.  No reasons…no rationalisations…a perfectly fit and healthy young man taken away and nothing for any of us to pin the blame on. Pete was just gone.

Pete and I had been best friends for 16 years, had worked at Tesco’s together collecting trolleys aged 15, started at Hospital Radio Bedford together, moved on to Supergold and Chiltern Radio together, then gone in separate directions work-wise for a few years but forever being the best of buds and supporting each other while doing all the stupid things guys do together.  We went on wild and wacky holidays together, saw far too many films and concerts, drove the length and breadth of the UK together, watched even more films, and sung a lot of songs BADLY while driving around.  Yes, we were a very real ODD COUPLE, we were brothers and we had a blast.  I suppose I was thinking we would even grow to become GRUMPY OLD MEN!! Eventually, in 1999 when I bought my flat in Croydon, Pete moved in as my lodger and we were able to enjoy living out all our earlier dreams of drinking cider on the couch while playing computer games, talking about Star Wars and then watching far far too many DVDs!

4 - A Sting In The TaleSo as you can imagine, having him suddenly die on Sunday in late 2003 came as a bit of a shock to me.  It isn’t too much to say that I am still suffering from the loss.  I threw myself in to my work as a means of escape, and Pete must have been smiling on me, coz work worked out!  Since 2003 I have been able to achieve just about all my professional goals in life, helped many talented people get on to UK radio, assisted charities and trade unions, fought the good fight and come out the other side with all my bits intact.  And here I sit, typing this blog, the owner of my own successful independent production company, relatively well-known and I hope somewhat respected for my producing and directing, and generally in a pretty good place.

But coming to the end of this WHO adventure has hit me with a reality shock…Pete would have LOVED this.  He was the true Who fan.  He had the VHS tapes and the DVDs, the books, the t-shirts, the toys, the signed this thats and the others.  he dragged me to conventions and signings so he could meet Colin and Peter and Sylvester.  He died before New WHO debuted, so he never got to see his beloved hero return to the small screen.  But he would have loved what the BBC has done over the past few years.  I’ve enjoyed the New WHO, but he would have been bouncing off the walls, reading every snippet of information, checking out every fan site and web site…he would have been insufferable, but in an endearing way (just as he was with Star Wars!)

DW HN ep 5 coverSo to have been so involved in the comeback of Tom Baker, well, that would have blown his mind.  I like to think that he is getting a buzz out of the fact that my home editing office is in his old bedroom, so in some small way he has had a part in bringing Tom back as well.  But I am sad, because I so want to play him the audio,  I so want to get his reaction, to see his smile and hear his thoughts.  I wanna have him bug me for a chance to meet Tom, to get an autograph or to come to one of the sessions.  Just as he would have fizzed at every moment of The Brightonomicon audio series, Pete would have been my biggest supporter, and most annoying critic (!) throughout the Hornets’ Nest series.

I miss him so very much, and I wish he was still here.  I forgive him the OTT anoraking of incessant Star Wars and Dr Who fandom…if I am honest, I loved it every bit as much as he did!  So I would like to, UNOFFICIALLY, dedicate DOCTOR WHO HORNETS’ NEST to him, to his memory, to his love of the Doctor, and to his friendship.  Without him I wouldn’t have gotten to where I got in life, and I wouldn’t have gotten to make a Tom Baker WHO adventure like this!

And please, if you have lost someone close to you, I would also like to dedicate the series to them…especially if they were a WHO fan, but even if they weren’t.  Doctor Who reminds us  that friendship and family are all-important…as are having fun, a sense of adventure and a child-like fascination with the world.  Our companions may no longer be with us in person, but they remain with us in spirit (and re-runs!) forever.

Love, Neil :-) x

 

The Big Pair Podcast – Ep 9 – Arthur Tells (Pony) Tales

Another new BIG PAIR PODCAST reaches your ears, and as promised, this ep features a chat with Arthur Darvill, who can currently be seen playing Rory, Amy pond’s boyfriend/fiance in Doctor Who.

Arthur & Neil chat about Dr Who audiobooks, what he thinks of Rory and the now infamous pony tail, working in the theatre with Matt Smith & Christian Slater, music and composing, and all manner of stuff from Arthur’s life.

Doctor Who: The Slitheen Excursion – Audiobook

Well, after a few minor delays, the latest Doctor Who audiobook produced by yours truly for BBC Audiobooks is finally released – huzzah!

DOCTOR WHO: THE SLITHEEN EXCURSION is written by Simon Guerrier and read by the fabulous Debbie Chazen.  It is available for download only (the link is below), and I wanna tell you that it’s a brilliant story.

TO be honest with you, I’ve never been a fan of the Slitheen, they always came across as too much of a kids creation, with all the farting and cod-acting.  I never found them [a] funny or [b] menacing.  HOWEVER, Simon has made me a convert to the Slitheen ranks, as his monstrous family here are superb characters.  Maybe it is because we get to know them, to learn about them and to even learn to like (at least one of) them?  But then what’s a great character without a great voice, and within these audio walls are housed two of my all-time favourite character voices.  Debbie Chazen (Foon van Hoff from Voyage of the Damned) brings the younger Slitheen COSMO and the elder Slitheen MAMPS to life with hilarity.  As my fiance can attest, I am addicted to saying the line “Helloooooo, I’m Cosmo!” in a silly slurpy voice now.

Anyhow, here’s the official breakdown of the story…it all happens within the timeline of the 10th Doctor:

In 1500 BC, King Actaeus and his subjects live in mortal fear of the awesome gods who have come to visit their kingdom in ancient Greece. The Doctor, visiting with university student June, knows they’re not gods at all. They’re aliens!

With June’s enthusiastic help, the Doctor soon meets the travel agents behind this deadly package holiday company – his old enemies the Slitheen. But can he bring the Slitheen excursion to an end without endangering more lives? And how are events in ancient Greece linked to a modern-day alien plot to destroy what’s left of the Parthenon?

This is my 7th Doctor Who audiobook production, and number 8 is coming soon (an 11th Doctor tale…exciting!).  I do hope you enjoy listening to it as much as Debbie and I did making it!

And thanks to Lucinda at Essential Music studios in London for all her wonderful help recording the audio.

ENJOY!

DOWNLOAD from Audible.com by CLICKING HERE

Doctor Who: Autonomy – New Audiobook Release

I am overwhelmingly happy to let you know that another of the Doctor Who audio adventures I have produced recently is now available for you to buy.  This time it is “AUTONOMY” written by Daniel Blythe and read by the lovely Georgia Moffett.  Here’s what it is all about:

Hyperville is 2013’s top hi-tech, 24-hour entertainment complex – a sprawling palace of fun under one massive roof. You can go shopping, or experience the excitement of Doomcastle, Winterland, or Wild West World. But things are about to get a lot more exciting – and dangerous! What unspeakable horror is lurking on Level Zero of Hyperville? And what will happen when the entire complex goes over to Central Computer Control?

Me with Georgia making silly poses!

We recorded it back in January, and had a real blast in the studio.  It is a fun story, very well written by Daniel, and has a whole heap of David Tennant-Doctor action and silliness.  And of course, it has Autons doing naughty Auton thingies…exciting!

At the moment it is only available as a DOWNLOAD, so there is no CD set to buy.  But it is available to both UK and non-UK fans.  Here’s where you can get it from:

AUDIBLE.CO.UK

AUDIBLE.COM

Or you can purchase it via iTunes UK:

Doctor Who: Autonomy (Unabridged)

Or iTunes US:

Doctor Who: Autonomy (Unabridged)

There will be another title coming your way soon, keep your eyes peeled to the blog for full details.  Enjoy!

The BIG PAIR Podcast – Ep 6 – Debbie Does Audio!

Another in our occassional series of specials…this episode, Neil Gardner chats one-on-one with actress, comedienne and star of “Voyage of the Damned”, Debbie Chazen, about audiobooks, We Are Klang, Calendar Girls, Dr Who and fighting breast cancer.

PLUS…some sneak audio peaks at some of the summer releases from Spokenworld Audio, the new name in audiobooks and audio productions online.

Debbie as Foon van Hoff (c)BBC

The BIG PAIR Podcast #5 – Welcome, Mr Rune!

Big-Pair-podcast-image-150

JUST CLICK THE BIG PLAY BUTTON ABOVE TO HEAR THE PODCAST!

The BIG PAIR Podcast is back with episode 5, and this time we are giving you a complete FREE episode of the highly popular “The Brightonomicon” audio series starring legendary actor David Warner. Not only that but there is the result of our Doctor Who “The Last Dodo” competition, AND a whole new super-sized competition to enter.

Also in this episode:

* The Adventures of Dave Crampon pt 2
* A Spot Of Poetry
* Real People
* Jingles a go go!
* Shameless pimping

Places, people and things worth checking out:

THE BLOG – https://hokusbloke.wordpress.com
TWITTER – http://www.twitter.com/hokusbloke
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/radiobloke

Brightonimicon_125

THE BRIGHTONOMICON – http://tinyurl.com/yzz4qs9
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 1 – http://tinyurl.com/yjbqnny
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 2 – http://tinyurl.com/yhdn9ub
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 3 – http://tinyurl.com/yj4gwvy
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 4 – http://tinyurl.com/yh4hjyd
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 5 – http://tinyurl.com/yzzkacp
Dr WHO THE FOREVER TRAP – http://tinyurl.com/yg2rgll
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE SHADOW PEOPLE – http://tinyurl.com/ygsu8ky
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE WHITE WOLF – http://tinyurl.com/ylex8ee

 

THE INSIDEOUTCAST – http://insideoutcast.mevio.com/
BOXROOM PODCAST – http://theboxroom.mevio.com/
SCIFI LONDON PODCAST – http://www.sci-fi-london.com/audio

Enjoy, share the links and enter the competition!!  Don’t forget, you can also subscribe via iTunes and get each new episode automatically.  Just clicky the button below:

Neil Gardner - The BIG Pair Podcast - The BIG Pair Podcast

N 🙂

Who’s Missing?

hornets_nest_stuff_125

1 - The Stuff of Nightmares

It’s just before midnight on Monday October 26th 2009, and after over 6 months work, I have finally completed the 5 episode that go to make up the DOCTOR WHO HORNETS’ NEST audio series, starring Tom Baker.  All the prep, recording sessions, rough editing, construction, SFX & atmos, fine editing, drafting, final editing and mastering…it is all done!  As I type this the final two master files, for episodes 4 and 5, are burning on to a DVD-Rom ready to be picked up by courier tomorrow lunchtime (we can’t trust the post in the UK right now!).  That courier will travel all the way from my home in Croydon (South East of London) to Bath (West Country near Bristol) and deliver the masters to the team at BBC Audiobooks who will then send them off to the duplication plant and thence on to distribution.  The third episode is out in a week or so and the final two CDs are released on the 14th December, just in time for Xmas!

DW Dead Shoes

2 - The Dead Shoes

So that’s it…no more WHO for me for the time being.  For the next few days I think I will be quite pleased about that fact.  Pleased that the deadlines have been hit, that the BBC bosses are happy with the series, that I’ve been a fairly important part of a pretty important new addition to the ongoing Whoniverse.  I’ll also be glad the work is done, I can send in the bill and I don’t have to spend every hour I have (including late nights and weekends) editing Dr Who audio.

But after a few days I fear the withdrawal symptoms will start.  No more WHO?!  What am I going to do?  I have loved being a part of this mad and crazy adventure.  Working with Tom, and Richard Franklin, and Rula Lenska…chatting with Paul the writer, talking SFX with Michael the commissioning editor, and most of all playing around with audio with the gorgeous Kate the producer/director.  I want more, more, more!  As you can imagine, I’ll be pushing the BBC Audiobook teams to let me produce and edit more of the DW audio adventures as soon as possible.  And you never know, at some point the “Doctor Who And The Dalek Invasion Of Earth” audiobook I produced earlier this year will finally be released!

drwho_hn_circus_doom_300

3 - The Circus of Doom

So I am going to miss being a daily part of the Whoniverse, yes indeed.  But I want to say a few words about another loss I feel at this time, related to all this Who-tastic stuff I’ve had the honour to work on.

On November 5th this year (just a week away), it will be the sixth anniversary of the death of my best friend, Pete Barnes.  He died, aged 30, of a massive stroke…there were no signs or warnings, it came on suddenly one Sunday afternoon while we were playing a computer game in the flat we shared.  By the following morning he was gone.  No reasons…no rationalisations…a perfectly fit and healthy young man taken away and nothing for any of us to pin the blame on. Pete was just gone.

Pete and I had been best friends for 16 years, had worked at Tesco’s together collecting trolleys aged 15, started at Hospital Radio Bedford together, moved on to Supergold and Chiltern Radio together, then gone in separate directions work-wise for a few years but forever being the best of buds and supporting each other while doing all the stupid things guys do together.  We went on wild and wacky holidays together, saw far too many films and concerts, drove the length and breadth of the UK together, watched even more films, and sung a lot of songs BADLY while driving around.  Yes, we were a very real ODD COUPLE, we were brothers and we had a blast.  I suppose I was thinking we would even grow to become GRUMPY OLD MEN!! Eventually, in 1999 when I bought my flat in Croydon, Pete moved in as my lodger and we were able to enjoy living out all our earlier dreams of drinking cider on the couch while playing computer games, talking about Star Wars and then watching far far too many DVDs!

4 - A Sting In The Tale

4 - A Sting In The Tale

So as you can imagine, having him suddenly die on Sunday in late 2003 came as a bit of a shock to me.  It isn’t too much to say that I am still suffering from the loss.  I threw myself in to my work as a means of escape, and Pete must have been smiling on me, coz work worked out!  Since 2003 I have been able to achieve just about all my professional goals in life, helped many talented people get on to UK radio, assisted charities and trade unions, fought the good fight and come out the other side with all my bits intact.  And here I sit, typing this blog, the owner of my own successful independent production company, relatively well-known and I hope somewhat respected for my producing and directing, and generally in a pretty good place.

But coming to the end of this WHO adventure has hit me with a reality shock…Pete would have LOVED this.  He was the true Who fan.  He had the VHS tapes and the DVDs, the books, the t-shirts, the toys, the signed this thats and the others.  he dragged me to conventions and signings so he could meet Colin and Peter and Sylvester.  He died before New WHO debuted, so he never got to see his beloved hero return to the small screen.  But he would have loved what the BBC has done over the past few years.  I’ve enjoyed the New WHO, but he would have been bouncing off the walls, reading every snippet of information, checking out every fan site and web site…he would have been insufferable, but in an endearing way (just as he was with Star Wars!)

DW HN ep 5 cover

5 - Hive Of Horror

So to have been so involved in the comeback of Tom Baker, well, that would have blown his mind.  I like to think that he is getting a buzz out of the fact that my home editing office is in his old bedroom, so in some small way he has had a part in bringing Tom back as well.  But I am sad, because I so want to play him the audio,  I so want to get his reaction, to see his smile and hear his thoughts.  I wanna have him bug me for a chance to meet Tom, to get an autograph or to come to one of the sessions.  Just as he would have fizzed at every moment of The Brightonomicon audio series, Pete would have been my biggest supporter, and most annoying critic (!) throughout the Hornets’ Nest series.

I miss him so very much, and I wish he was still here.  I forgive him the OTT anoraking of incessant Star Wars and Dr Who fandom…if I am honest, I loved it every bit as much as he did!  So I would like to, UNOFFICIALLY, dedicate DOCTOR WHO HORNETS’ NEST to him, to his memory, to his love of the Doctor, and to his friendship.  Without him I wouldn’t have gotten to where I got in life, and I wouldn’t have gotten to make a Tom Baker WHO adventure like this!

And please, if you have lost someone close to you, I would also like to dedicate the series to them…especially if they were a WHO fan, but even if they weren’t.  Doctor Who reminds us  that friendship and family are all-important…as are having fun, a sense of adventure and a child-like fascination with the world.  Our companions may no longer be with us in person, but they remain with us in spirit (and re-runs!) forever.

Love, Neil 🙂 x

******************************************************************************

logo_tsaIf you would like to help find a cure for stroke, and fund help for those suffering from stroke, please consider donating what you can to THE STROKE ASSOCIATION:

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

******************************************************************************

Having got all that off my chest…do please consider buying the CD’s or downloads…ep 3 is released at the start of November and eps 4 & 5 come out on 14th Dec.  You can buy them from the BBC Shop, Amazon, Audible, Play, iTunes and all good audio retailers.

The BIG PAIR Podcast – Ep 4 – Dr Whooooo, Ooh, Dr Who!

Click to jump to the podcast site

You can now listen to the podcast by clicking the play button above!

The BIG PAIR Podcast is back with episode 4, and this time we are giving up most of the show to a chat and Q&A session with Kate Thomas, Dr Who Audio director & producer from BBC Audiobooks. She talks about her favourite Who stories, making Who audio adventures, what’s coming up next and much more.

There is also a kick-ass competition in which YOU could win a signed copy of “Doctor Who – The Last Dodo” 2xCD audio adventure from BBC Audio. Signed by Kate who directed it, and read by Freema Agyeman.

Also in this episode:

* The Adventures of Dave Crampon
* Dr Hill’s Cabinet of Curiosity
* Real People
* Jingles a go go!
* Shameless pimping

Places, people and things worth checking out:

THE BLOG – https://hokusbloke.wordpress.com
TWITTER – http://www.twitter.com/hokusbloke
FACEBOOK – http://www.facebook.com/radiobloke

THE BRIGHTONOMICON – http://tinyurl.com/yzz4qs9
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 1 – http://tinyurl.com/yjbqnny
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 2 – http://tinyurl.com/yhdn9ub
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 3 – http://tinyurl.com/yj4gwvy
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 4 – http://tinyurl.com/yh4hjyd
DR WHO HORNETS’ NEST Ep 5 – http://tinyurl.com/yzzkacp
Dr WHO THE FOREVER TRAP – http://tinyurl.com/yg2rgll
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE SHADOW PEOPLE – http://tinyurl.com/ygsu8ky
SARAH JANE ADVENTURES THE WHITE WOLF – http://tinyurl.com/ylex8ee

THE INSIDEOUTCAST – http://insideoutcast.mevio.com/
BOXROOM PODCAST – http://theboxroom.mevio.com/

Enjoy, share the links and enter the competition!!

N 🙂

A Whole Heap of Who!

Blimey! What a start to the month – a whole heap of Doctor Who related audio adventures that I have produced and/or edited are now available for you lucky Whovians to buy.  So with no further prevarication, let’s get on with the sales pitch!

“The Sarah Jane Adventures – The Shadow People” by Scott Handcock

Starring Elizabeth SladenSJA cover 01 new

Produced by Neil Gardner for BBC Audio

“A school camping trip to Snowdonia spells trouble for Sarah Jane and her friends, as they find themselves stranded in a harsh environment. What shadowy figure is watching them? How can Rani be in two places at once? And what secret does a nearby cave hold? Based on the hit CBBC TV series, “The Shadow People” is written by Scott Handcock. Elisabeth Sladen narrates the story as Sarah Jane Smith.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM AMAZON

___________________________________________________________________________________

“The Sarah Jane Adventures – The White Wolf” by Gary Russell

Starring Elizabeth SladenSJA cover 02 new

Produced by Neil Gardner for BBC Audio

“A letter from an old friend she can’t remember sparks off another adventure for Sarah Jane, as she and her friends explore the village of Wolfenden. What is the secret of the white wolf carved on the hillside – and what does it have to do with alien abduction? Based on the hit CBBC TV series, “The White Wolf” is written by Gary Russell. Elisabeth Sladen narrates the story as Sarah Jane Smith.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM AMAZON

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“Doctor Who: Hornets’ Nest – The Dead Shoes” by Paul Magrs

Starring Tom Baker & Richard FranklinDW Dead Shoes

Produed & Directed by Kate Thomas

Edited by Neil Gardner for BBC Audio

“Visiting the English seaside town of Cromer in the summer of 1932, the Doctor happens upon the strange world of the Cromer Palace of Curios. The young Ernestina Scott is unusually beguiled by one of the museum’s exhibits, and when the Doctor befriends her, they unwittingly embark upon a terrifying escapade. Chased by animated dolls through a nightmarish model house, the Doctor realises he is being hunted by a familiar enemy. The unmistakable sound of hornets is in the air, and they are keen to speak to him. Overseeing this game of cat and mouse is the Palace of Curios’ curator – a certain Mrs Wibbsey…With Tom Baker as the Doctor, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey, Clare Corbett as Ernestina, and Christian Rodska as the Reverend Small, “The Dead Shoes” is the second of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM AMAZON

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“Doctor Who: The Forever Trap” by Dan Abnett

Starring Catherine Tatedw forever trap cover

Produed & Directed by Kate Thomas

Recorded by Neil Gardner for BBC Audio

“Catherine Tate reads this exclusive thrilling story, in which the Doctor and Donna are imprisoned on the Edifice – and become neighbours to a terrifying assortment of aliens. When the TARDIS is invaded by a holographic marketing scam, the Doctor and Donna find themselves trapped on the Edifice, a purpose-built complex of luxury apartments in space. Their new environs leave much to be desired: millions of beings from across the Universe have been gathered to live side by side in similar apartments. Instead of creating neighbourly affection, it’s led to terrible battles being waged in the corridors and on the stairwells.The Doctor and Donna must cross the paths of deadly alien mobs as they search for the Edifice’s ultimate authority. Who – or what – lies at the heart of the incredible complex? What destructive scourge is eating away at the Edifice itself? And are the Doctor and Donna trapped forever in this living hell? “The Forever Trap” features the Doctor and Donna, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the hit BBC Television series “Doctor Who”. Written specially for audio by Dan Abnett, it is read by Catherine Tate.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM AMAZON

CLICK THIS BUTTON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes Doctor Who: The Forever Trap (Unabridged) (Unabridged  Fiction)

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Editing Doctor Who – an audio adventure!

Hornets' Nest - The Circus of Doom by Paul Magrs

The Circus of Doom (c)BBC

What a job, eh?  Editing together the latest audio adventures of the fourth Doctor, Tom Baker.  It is, I am happy to admit, a childhood dream come true!  I’ve been a Doctor Who fan since, well, since forever.  And Tom was/is MY Doctor.  My first experience of Doctor Who was in the mid to late 1970s and there he was, Tom “The Doctor” Baker…larger than life, with scarf-a-flappin, a mile-wide smile and a manic approach to being a hero.  According to my mum, I was watching Doctor Who on a Saturday evening from the age of 2…no wonder Tom Baker has such a power over my childhood memories!

As I grew up, I always knew that I wanted to work in radio and what is now referred to as audio.  And I always knew I wanted to make science fiction.  But to be making Doctor Who…and Tom Baker Doctor Who?!  Wow wow wow!

So what is it I am doing?  A few people have asked what my role actually is in the Hornets’ Nest production crew?  First off, the producer/director is the uber-talented  Kate Thomas from BBC Audiobooks.  Kate has made pretty much all of the many, many BBC Audio Dr Who audio adventures…she is a goddess of Doctor Who.  So I’m not the producer or director (unusual for me nowadays!). I certainly didn’t write it or script edit it.  The writer is the mighty Paul Magrs, a man with much Doctor Who writing experience! I’ve done my fair share of writing for radio over the years, and will continue to do so, but I don’t think I’ll ever be good enough to write for Doctor Who!  Simon Willey and Wolfgang were the recording engineers for the drama scenes, so again, that’s not my job (also unusual for me, as I have recorded most things I produce!). So what the heck is it I am doing?

In the voice-over studio

In the voice-over studio

Part of my job was to bring my experience of BBC Radio drama directing/producing…in this role I advised on various aspects of the series, organised recording studios and engineers and ensured all the audio was recorded exactly as would be required to deliver the end result.

As part of this process, I also engineered the recording sessions with Tom and Richard Franklin, these were done in a radio studio rather than a drama studio (Electric Airwaves if you are interested – we used Motivation Sound Studios for the drama sessions).

The Stuff of Nightmares

The Stuff of Nightmares (c)BBC

Once everything was recorded my BIG job began.  It is my role to edit everything together, much like a film editor.  I have all the raw audio, and working alongside my script notes, I piece together each episode, using the best takes, making sure everything balances in terms of pace and style.  Once this is done I then layer in the music (supplied by the BBC), re-time everything to fit what the composer has in mind, and re-balance the volumes.  Finally I go back through the whole episode and add in sound effects (such as the wonderful original 1970s BBC Tardis SFX) and atmospheres.  With these three processes finished I have to listen through a few more times to check there are no mistakes, the pacing is right, the volumes are correct, the FX are in the right place, etc…  At this stage I send the episode to Kate at the BBC, and she, along with the commissioning editor Michael Stevens, listen through and send back a list of small changes they think need to be made.

Kate, Tom, me and Richard

Kate, Tom, me and Richard

You might think I would be annoyed by this short list of changes – after all, I’ve done all this hard work (something like 36 hours per ep) and these two people tell me to make alterations!  But actually it is a very useful and much appreciated stage – being so close to the audio for so long, I find that I end up missing a few things.  Plus, my opinion of pacing and style, may not suit others, and so Kate and Michael play the part of ‘first listeners’.  It is a vital and very positive stage of the production.

So, I take these notes, work through the episode to make the changes, and then master the episode.  Mastering pulls all the many audio files together into one single broadcast quality wav file.  At this point I listen through on headphones to check nothing has gone awry during the mastering process.  If everything is OK, I send an mp3 file of the episode to Kate for her to sign off on.  Once that is done I send a DATA CD and AUDIO CD of the episode to the chaps at BBC Audiobooks in Bath…they then send it through their duplication and distribution system and eventually the episode turns up as a CD and download all over the world – huzzah!

Mastering A DW Episode

Mastering A DW Episode

I’ve done this 3 times so far – ep 1 “The Stuff of Nightmares” is in the shops now; ep 2 “The Dead Shoes” comes out at the start of October; ep 3 “The Circus of Doom” is released along with ep 4 at the start of November.  Ep 5 comes out at the start of December – all in time for Xmas 🙂

Today I finished all the stages of ep 3 – so the master discs head off in the post tomorrow.  Ep 4 is already with Kate & co for notes, so not much left to do with that one.  Just ep 5 now needs to be built and edited…so I am very nearly there.  This production started back in Feb/March and is coming to a close in Oct…6 months for 5 CDs, not a terrible amount of time at all.

Tom does some 'acting'!

Tom does some 'acting'!

And through it all I’ve been getting to edit Doctor Who, Tom Baker, the fourth Doctor.  I’ve loved this job.  It’s been a dream come true, and one I’ve been able to share with friends all around the world through the blog and Twitter and Facebook.  For those of us who grew up with Tom as the Doctor, having him return has been a very special time.  Whether you enjoy the series or not, I hope you’ll agree that Tom coming back is a great thing.  Where he goes next, what he does next, whether it be more with the BBC or with someone else, I think we can all agree that Tom is a legend and a one-off and for me, he still exerts a ridiculous amount of control over my imagination…what a joy it has been working with him.

I just wish I could share with you the out-takes 🙂

The Dead Shoes

The Dead Shoes (c)BBC

“Doctor Who: Hornets’ Nest” is available via the BBC Shop, Amazon, Play, iTunes and other retailers.  There are 5 CDs in the series.

Some great places to visit:

Paul Magrs blog

BBC Shop

Tom Baker’s new website

The BIG PAIR Podcast – Ep 3 – Nobody Puts Baby In The Muller Corner!

There’s a whole new episode of THE BIG PAIR PODCAST now available for you fine folks to take a gander at.

http://bigpairpodcast.mypodcast.com/2009/09/The_BIG_Pair_Podcast_Ep_3_Nobody_Puts_Baby_In_The_Muller_Corner-240145.html

Click to jump to the podcast site

Click to jump to the podcast site

In this ep:

*An exclusive chat with Dr Who audio director/producer KATE THOMAS
*NEW Jingles!
*Some Tom Baker treats
*More comedy skits
*A rant about scifi literature & awards
*EXCLUSIVE first listen of HP Lovecraft short horror story
*More Real People
*More Cabinet of Curiosities
*LONGER running time!
*Part one of surreal audio reading “Roughcheese Came Riding”
*More more more, how do you like it?!

It’s getting longer too! Thanks to Agent manny’s intervention and a jam incident (don’t ask!) the episode is just shy of an hour long…so you get MORE for your MONEY (except you’ve not paid anything…so it’s an even BETTER deal!!)

Have a listen, send some thoughts, feedback, whatever…and please help spread the news and big up the subscriptions.

Next episode I hope to have more from the mighty Paul Kent, a special famous guest, and a whole load more toot…PLUS, chapter 2 of “THe Wonderful Wizard of Oz” read by the gorgeous Sarah Douglas.

Woot!

N 🙂

Stuff Wot I Made You Can Buy!

It’s quite extraordinary but some of the radio and audio productions I have produced are available to purchase from the luminaries at the BBC.  So, in the spirit of wanting to make some cash to pay for the cats’ food, I thought I might introduce you to some of these rather wonderful audio products, and offer you links to where you can buy them…please buy them, many many of them, and then buy some more for your friends and families…all the oney goes to a good cause (well, the BBC and then a little to me, sort of!)

The Brightonomicon 7 CD box-set

The Brightonomicon 7 CD box-set

THE BRIGHTONOMICON by Robert Rankin

13 half hour episodes / full-cast audio drama / award winning production / as heard of BBC Radio 7

starring David Warner, Andy Serkis, Rupert Degas, Sarah Douglas, Martin Jarvis, Jason Isaacs & many more

written by Elliott Stein & Neil Gardner / music by Jeremy Paul Carroll / edited, produced & directed by Neil Gardner

a Ladbroke Productions / Hokus Bloke co-production for BBC Audio

“A stellar cast including David Warner, Rupert Degas, Andy Serkis, Mark Wing-Davey, Michael Fenton-Stevens & Martin Jarvis bring Robert Rankin’s extraordinary fantasty tale to life! This is the tale of two incredible people – one who knows he is incredible and the other who learns to be incredible. Set in 1960 in Brighton, self-styled guru and magus Hugo Rune rescues a young man from drowning and persuades him to become his assistant and partner in solving 12 mysteries. Rizla (for such is the young man’s assumed name) agrees to help as he has lost his memory and has nowhere else to go. There then follows 12 of the most baffling, surreal, exciting, head-scratching and downright far-fetched mysteries ever written…all based in and around the suburbs of Brighton. Across the mysteries Rizla and the audience learn about the Brighton zodiac, the chronovision, time travel, centaurs, a dastardly plot where the NHS kidnap vagrants for body parts, space pirates, the real history of Victorian Britain, Brighton pirates and the fate that awaits mankind should Hugo Rune fail in his task. And of course, there’s a very bad man involved indeed – Hugo Rune’s arch-nemesis of the ages, Count Otto Black – who wants to rule the world (what else!) You will never hear anything else quite like this in your lifetime. Yet another slice of far-fetched fiction in the Rankin tradition.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM THE BBC SHOP

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes The Brightonomicon (Unabridged)

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The Stuff of Nightmares

The Stuff of Nightmares

DOCTOR WHO: HORNETS’ NEST (1): THE STUFF OF NIGHTMARES by Paul Magrs

1hr 12mins enhanced reading

starring Tom Baker & Richard Franklin

recorded & edited by Neil Gardner / produced & directed by Kate Thomas

a BBC Audio production

“Tom Baker reprises the role of the Fourth Doctor in the first of five thrilling brand new audio adventures, with Richard Franklin as Mike Yates. ‘Wanted: retired army Captain for light household duties and fireside companionship. Must tolerate mild eccentricity and strong scientific advice. Knowledge of Giant Maggots, Super Intelligent Spiders and Prehistoric Monsters a positive boon.’

Responding to an advert apparently worded for him alone, Captain Mike Yates (retired) is reunited with a ghost from the past. But why has the Doctor, that mysterious traveller in Time and Space, sent for his former UNIT acquaintance? Trapped by a horde of vicious creatures in an apparently innocuous English country cottage, the two old friends are on the brink of an enormous adventure. As the Doctor relates his recent escapades, it becomes clear to Mike that they – and the Earth at large – are facing an enemy of unimaginable power and horrific intent.

The nightmare is only just beginning… With Tom Baker as the Doctor, Richard Franklin as Mike Yates, Susan Jameson as Mrs Wibbsey and Daniel Hill as Percy Noggins, The Stuff of Nightmares is the first of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM THE BBC SHOP

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  Doctor Who: Hornets' Nest 1 - the Stuff of Nightmares (Unabridged)

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The Dead Shoes

The Dead Shoes

DOCTOR WHO: HORNETS’ NEST (2): THE DEAD SHOES by Paul Magrs

1hr 05 mins enhanced reading

starring Tom Baker & Richard Franklin

recorded & edited by Neil Gardner / produced & directed by Kate Thomas

a BBC Audio production

“Tom Baker reprises the role of the Fourth Doctor in the first of five thrilling brand new audio adventures, with Richard Franklin as Mike Yates. What is so special about a pair of ballet shoes on display in Cromer’s Palace of Curios? When the Doctor meets Ernestina Scott there in 1932, they discover the horrific truth together. The second of five linked stories written by the acclaimed Paul Magrs, The Dead Shoes also features Susan Jameson, Clare Corbett and Christian Rodska.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM THE BBC SHOP

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The Year of the Flood 14 CD box-set

The Year of the Flood 14 CD box-set

THE YEAR OF THE FLOOD by Margaret Atwood

14hrs 30 mins unabridged reading

read by Lorelei King

recorded, edited & produced by Neil Gardner

a BBC Audio production

“Adam One, the kindly leader of the God’s Gardeners – a religion devoted to the melding of science and religion, the preservation of all species and the tending of the Earth – has long predicted the Waterless Flood. Now it has occurred, obliterating most human life. Two women have avoided it: the young trapeze-dancer, Ren, locked into the high-end sex club; and former SecretBurgers meat-slinger turned Gardener, Toby, barricaded into a luxurious spa. Have others survived? And what are the odds for the human race? By turns dark, tender, violent, thoughtful and uneasily hilarious, The Year of the Flood is Atwood at her most effective.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM THE BBC SHOP

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  The Year of the Flood (Unabridged)

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6000 Postcards radio feature

6000 Postcards radio feature

6000 POSTCARDS

27mins 30secs radio documentary / as heard on BBC Radio 4

presented by Chris McManus

produced by Richard Bannerman / executive produced by Neil Gardner

a Ladbroke Radio production for BBC Radio 4

“Chris McManus uncovers the secrets of a collection of 6000 dusty old postcards that turned up in a forgotten cupboard in the Psychology Department of University College London. It started with two medium-sized cardboard boxes. When Richard Rawles of the Department opened them, he found the cards, with postmarks dating from August 1953. They were addressed to the BBC Television Service, and the search was on to find out how they came to be there and what information they contained.”

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  6000 Postcards

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Bridging The Gap radio feature

Bridging The Gap radio feature

BRIDGING THE GAP

27mins 30secs radio documentary / featured on “Pick of the Year” / as heard on BBC Radio 4

presented by Simon Fanshawe

produced by Tamsyn Challenger / executive produced by Neil Gardner

a Ladbroke Radio production for BBC Radio 4

“Simon Fanshawe visits an ambitious community project in Bridging the Gap at 1100 on Monday 7th August. The gap in question is the cavernous void between young and old that breeds mistrust and anxiety. Pat Stewart and Rob Burley run the On the Streets project in Gorton, Manchester. Their aim is to develop in young teenagers a sense of their community and show them there is more to life than spiralling from ASBO to serious crime.In the programme, the 15- and 16 year-olds talk frankly about a life they feel has little to offer them – with few or no facilities, threats from gangs, and nothing to occupy their time.The programme attends an events day run by Pat and Rob at the Angel Community Centre, where one highlight is the hand massage session that not only gives the over-60s a chance to relax and enjoy a bit of pampering, but more importantly, a chance for young and old to talk and exchange stories from their very different lives.The campaign itself has won awards for breaking down barriers and helping to develop communication and common interest across generations, and Pat and Rob are determined to “take young people out of the thug mode and elderly people out of the victim mode”. As one of the documentary’s producers, Tamsyn Challenger, says, “To hear a 14-year-old talking about 80-year-old Lou on his estate is heartening when there is little positive coverage of 14-year-old Manchester lads living in depressed areas.” Simon Fanshawe discusses the project both with the scheme’s leaders and also with the police, and guides us through the On the Streets story.”

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  Bridging the Gap (Unabridged)

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Giants On Our Hands radio feature

Giants On Our Hands radio feature

GIANTS ON OUR HANDS

27mins 30secs radio documentary / featured on “Pick of the Week” / as heard on BBC Radio 4 and BBC World Service

presented by Adam Fowler

produced by Adam Fowler & Anna Scott-Brown / executive produced by Neil Gardner

a Ladbroke Radio production for BBC Radio 4/WS

“For 5,000 years and more, elephants have served humanity, as a living tractor, pile driver, fork-lift, tank, and 4WD. But the working elephant is now at the end of its economic usefulness. Adam Fowler explores the plight of thousands of captive elephants in Asia and their historic and changing relationship with man.”

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  Giants On Our Hands: The Unemployed Elephants of Asia (Unabridged)

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Rembrandt 400 radio feature

Rembrandt 400 radio feature

REMBRANDT 400

43mins 30secs radio documentary / as heard on BBC Radio 3

presented by Neil MacGregor

produced by Richard Bannerman / executive produced by Neil Gardner

a Ladbroke Radio production for BBC Radio 3

“Neil MacGregor, the director of the British Museum, marks the 400th anniversary of Rembrandt’s birth. He visits Amsterdam, where Rembrandt made his home for the major part of his creative life, and where he painted the masterpieces that hang in galleries around the world. Rembrandt’s birthday is on July 15, and Amsterdam has marked the year with all kinds of events, from a new musical on Rembrandt’s life to exhibitions looking at every aspect of the artist’s work, from the epic painting of The Night Watch to small-scale etchings and drawings. Neil MacGregor, a longtime enthusiast for Rembrandt’s work, begins the programme in the house where Rembrandt lived in Amsterdam from 1639 to 1658, when bankruptcy in his later years forced him to move. Here, from the basement to the attic, are the everyday objects that Rembrandt would have known, from his box-bed to the huge collection of antiques and curios from all corners of the Dutch-traded world, which Rembrandt made use of to bring the excitement of the exotic into his work. Nearby in the Rijksmuseum, an exhibition puts Rembrandt’s major paintings against those of his slightly earlier Italian counterpart Caravaggio, showing the play of light and dark which gave both artists’ work that gleaming, arresting quality, and which lent a powerful drama to the Biblical or classical scenes they often depicted. In Rembrandt’s case, he turned away from images of beauty or flattery to depict people in all their human frailty – their tenderness, uncertainty, pain, and mortality. It is these qualities, as Neil MacGregor says, that make his paintings reach out so directly to us today, as well as impressing the spectator with their mastery of skill and often dazzling richness.”

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  Rembrandt 400 (Unabridged)

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The Forever Trap 2 CD exclusive

The Forever Trap 2 CD exclusive

DOCTOR WHO: THE FOREVER TRAP by Dan Abnett

2hrs 20mins reading / exclusive adventure from the BBC

read by Catherine Tate

recorded & edited by Neil Gardner / produced & directed by Kate Thomas

a BBC Audio production

“Catherine Tate reads this exclusive thrilling story, in which the Doctor and Donna are imprisoned on the Edifice – and become neighbours to a terrifying assortment of aliens.  When the TARDIS is invaded by a holographic marketing scam, the Doctor and Donna find themselves trapped on the Edifice, a purpose-built complex of luxury apartments in space. Their new environs leave much to be desired: millions of beings from across the Universe have been gathered to live side by side in similar apartments. Instead of creating neighbourly affection, it’s led to terrible battles being waged in the corridors and on the stairwells.   The Doctor and Donna must cross the paths of deadly alien mobs as they search for the Edifice’s ultimate authority. Who – or what – lies at the heart of the incredible complex? What destructive scourge is eating away at the Edifice itself? And are the Doctor and Donna trapped forever in this living hell?   The Forever Trap features the Doctor and Donna, as played by David Tennant and Catherine Tate in the hit BBC Television series Doctor Who. Written specially for audio by Dan Abnett, it is read by Catherine Tate.”

CLICK HERE TO BUY FROM THE BBC SHOP

CLICK THE ICON TO BUY & DOWNLOAD FROM iTunes  Doctor Who: The Forever Trap (Unabridged) (Unabridged  Fiction)

“So…just WHAT is it you do?”

That's me, in my natural environment...a radio studio...between Tom and Richard!

That's me, in my natural environment...a radio studio...between Tom and Richard!

Isn’t social networking strange?  Since the early days of message boards, then forums, then yahoo groups, the move to MySpace, then the big jump to Facebook, and on to the paradigm shifting experience that is Twitter…I have found myself in the rather wonderful position of having a goodly number of people I now consider good friends, but whom I have never met, and who don’t come via my working life.  They know me as Neil, or as HokusBloke, or as the fellow who does the silly poetry, or the FICTS chap, or the man behind the Robert Rankin audio/radio series…or a hundred other ways.  And on average, about once a week I get asked “So…just WHAT is it you do?”.  In order to try and be helpful, I thought I would give you a very brief description of what I do for a living, and then give you some examples.

So…I am a radio blokey.  What’s that? In my case I am the owner and MD of an independent radio production company based in the South East of the UK.  Independent radio production…does that mean adverts?  No.  You’ve no doubt noticed that large numbers of TV programmes are made by independent production companies, like Endemol, Zeppotron, RDF, etc…  Well, the BBC has an obligation to have 25% of its TV output made by such non-BBC companies.  In radio, there is no such requirement, but the BBC still offers up around 10% of its radio output for independent radio production companies to bid for.  Throughout the year companies like mine, Ladbroke Productions (Radio) Ltd, develop ideas and talent and take them to the various national and regional BBC radio networks in the hope we will be hired to make the programmes we propose.

Ladbroke Productions is the oldest such company in the UK, launched in June 1975.  It was also the first company to be hired by the BBC to independently produce a radio series (BBC World Service back in 1990).  I worked at the company from 1999, starting as an engineer and audio producer, gradually working my way up to being the Creative Director and Executive Producer by 2008.  Then, in Sept 2008 I was given the chance to buy the company and take it away from the parent firm.  Of course, I took the opportunity, even though it was a massive risk.  There is no guaranteed work for radio indies, and the budgets are miniscule!  But I had dreamed of owning and running my own radio/audio production company and here was the chance.

So, it is a year on, and even though the year has been a tough one, I am earning a salary, paying the partners and freelancers and we may even make a small profit!  But most importantly we are making more radio and audio programming than ever before.

So what do I do? Apart from the business side of running a small business of course, I come up with ideas for radio programmes, I work with others to develop ideas, seek out and work with new talent (presenters, broadcasters, writers, journalists, composers, etc…), I work with my 2 partners to then write up and pitch these proposals to the BBC, I handle all the budgeting and contractual stuff, handle all the copyrights and so on…but I also produce my fair share of the programmes.  Producing and directing radio is very different from TV and film…for a start most radio programmes are made by a producer, a presenter and, well, that’s it!  The radio producer is also the researcher, the writer, the runner, the sound engineer, etc…  This is why most of us do it, because the end product is very much our own!  So I produce documentaries and features, I also direct dramas and readings (and write them!), I adapt other people work for radio and audio release, and then I also do a job called Executive Producing.  This is like keeping an eye over another producer’s shoulder.  I don’t tell them what to do or how to do it, but keep an eye out for technical or legal issues, check that the programme is made to the mammoth BBC guidelines and isn’t going to fall foul of the increasingly paranoid compliance procedures.  I do this for Ladbroke programmes, as well as for several other companies.  And finally, because I started out as a sound engineer, I also mix and master pretty much all the programmes we make, and offer this service to other clients.  When you see me tweet about editing, this is usually what I mean…I am tidying up and putting together someone else’s raw audio, to make a beautifully crafted radio programme out of the parts!

So, I do all this for my own company, Ladbroke Productions…as well as for other independent radio producers.  Between us we work on programmes for BBC Radios 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 Live, 6 Music, 7, 1 Xtra, Asian Network, BBC Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.

But a man cannot live on one client alone.  So this first year has seen me working to build up some commercial clients.  The first, and biggest has been BBC Audiobooks.  Yes, the BBC again, but they are commercial and not a part of the licence-fee funded BBC.  BBCA are the people behind the Doctor Who audiobooks we all know and love.  It has been a massive joy for me this year to be taken on board as a producer of Doctor Who universe productions…a childhood dream!  I also produce non-scifi audiobooks for them, such as Margaret Atwood and PD James.

So that’s me in a short sweet nutshell.  I love radio, I love audio…these are the two most important mediums we have and I am unashamed of backing them to the hilt.  You’ll be hearing a lot more about new audio projects as the year progresses…there are some exciting new things just about to happen, which I hope you will support me with.

In the meantime, here’s a list of the BBC radio programmes Ladbroke Productions have produced since Oct 2008 and up to the end of 2009, I hope you’ll see that we do a massive range of things, bring value and quality to the BBC audience, and most importantly, you keep listening (or start!) to the radio.  Oh, and if you would like to hear any of the programmes, we do sell them at very reasonable rates 🙂

BBC RADIO 2

  • The Judy Garland Trail – 6×30 mins – Presented by Michael Freedland – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Nat King Cole: From Jazz To Rock’n’Roll – 4×30 mins – Presented by Clarke Peters – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Race With The Devil: Gene Vincent Story – 1×60 mins – Presented by Roger Daltrey – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • The King of Motown: Berry Gordy Story – 1×60 mins – Presented by Marshall Chess – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Feelin’ Love: Donna Summer Story – 1×60 mins – Presented by Paul Gambaccini – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Blonde On Blonde: Marilyn Monroe – 1×60 mins – Presented by Mariella Frostrup (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Hollywood Charmers – 4×30 mins – Presented by Michael York – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • I’ll Still Love You Tomorrow-Carole King Story – 3×30 mins – Presented by Pete Waterman – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • The Elvis Trail – 6x30mins – Presented by Michael Freedland – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Development Hell – 1×60 mins – Presented by Adam & Joe – Produced by Neil Rosser & Neil Gardner (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • My Word Is My Bond – 6×15 mins – Read by Sir Roger Moore – Produced & Directed by Neil Gardner (Exec – Neil Rosser)

BBC RADIO 3

  • The Essay-Henry:King of Kings – 5×15 mins – Written & Presented by Various – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • The Hidden Composers – 1×44 mins – Presented by Lowri Blake – Produced by Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Theatre & Conflict – 1×44 mins – Presented by  TBC – Produced by Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)

BBC RADIO 4

  • That’s No Job For An Asian! – 1×30 mins – Presented by Yasmeen Khan – Produced by Yasmeen Khan & Neil Gardner (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • Afternoon Play-On Ego – 1×44 mins – Written & Directed by Mick Gordon (Exec – Neil Gardner & Richard Bannerman)
  • The Deighton File – 1×30 mins – Presented by Patrick Humphries – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Twin Sisters, Two Faiths – 1×38 mins – Presented by Anna Scott-Brown – Produced by Adam Fowler & Anna Scott-Brown (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Who’s My Half-Brother? Where’s My Half-Sister? – 1×30 mins – Presented by Kati Whitaker – Produced by Kati Whitaker & Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Three Rivers – 3×30 mins – Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli – Produced by Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Inside the Bermuda Triangle-The Mysteries Solved – 10×15 mins + 2×60 mins – Presented by Tom Mangold – Produced by Adam Fowler (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Blondin of Niagara Falls & Ealing – 1×30 mins – Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli – Produced by Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Protected By Faith – 1×30 mins – Presented by John Waite – Produced by Neil Gardner (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • Tea & Biscuits – 5×15 mins – Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli – Produced by Richard Bannerman & Tamsyn Challenger (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Scott of Slimbridge – 1×60 mins + 1×42 mins – Presented by Frank Gardner – Produced by Merilyn Harris (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • Coast 2100 – 2×30 mins – Presented by TBC
  • Friday Play-Deep Cut – Directed by Mick Gordon (Exec – Melanie Harris)
  • Home Grown – 1×30 mins – Presented by Yasmeen Khan – Produced by Yasmeen Khan & Neil Gardner (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • In Search of A Shtetl – 1×30 mins – Presented by Michael Freedland and Jonathan Freedland – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Mataphor For Healing – 1×30 mins – Presented by Dr Phil Hammond – Produced by Jane Feinmann & Richard Bannerman (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Football Fights Back – 1×30 mins – Presented by Hardeep Singh Kohli – Produced by Adam Fowler (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Afternoon Play-Grace – 1×44 mins – Written & Directed by Mick Gordon (Exec – Neil Gardner & Richard Bannerman)
  • Afternoon Play-Mayflies – 1×44 mins – Directed by Neil Gardner (Exec – Dirk Maggs)
  • Afternoon Play-Cry Babies – 1×44 mins – Directed by Neil Gardner (Exec – Dirk Maggs)
  • A Failure To Provide? – 1×30 mins – Presented by Yasmeen Khan – Produced by Yasmeen Khan & Neil Gardner (Exec – Richard Bannerman)
  • Afternoon Play-Cancer Tales – Directed by Merilyn Harris (Exec – Richard Bannerman)

BBC RADIO 7

  • The Brightonomicon – 13×30 mins – Written & Directed by Neil Gardner (based on the novel by Robert Rankin)

BBC WORLD SERVICE

  • The Mind’s Tibet – 1×26 mins – Presented by TBC – Produced by Neil Rosser (Exec – Neil Gardner)
  • Twin Sisters, Two Faiths – 1×26 mins – Presented by Anna Scott-Brown – Produced by Adam Fowler & Anna Scott-Brown (Exec – Neil Gardner)

BBC AUDIOBOOKS

  • Doctor Who & The Dalek Invasion of Earth – 4xCDs – Read by William Russell – Produced by Neil Gardner
  • Doctor Who: Hornets’ Nest – 5xCDs – Starring Tom Baker – Edited & Sound Design by Neil Gardner
  • Sarah Jane Adventures: The White Wolf – Starring Elizabeth Sladen – Produced by Neil Gardner
  • Sarah Jane Adventures: The Shadow People – Starring Elizabeth Sladen – Produced by Neil Gardner
  • The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood – Read by Lorelei King – Produced by Neil Gardner
  • Talking About Detective Fiction by PD James – Read by Diana Bishop – Produced by Neil Gardner

If you’d like to hear excerpts or learn more about Ladbroke Production please check out our website – http://www.ladbrokeradio.com and if you are on Facebook, do seek us out and become a fan 🙂

Spending Time With The Doctor

Kate, Tom, me and Richard

Kate, Tom, me and Richard

Calling all Doctor Who fans…so, it’s not exactly hot off the presses news any more, but Tom Baker (the 4th Doctor) is back as our favourite Time Lord, in a new 5 CD audio drama being released by BBC Audiobooks between Sept and Dec 2009, called “Doctor Who – Hornet’s Nest”.  This is no mere audiobook, nor is it a traditional radio play…it’s a chimera, a beast of many parts…with narration, conversation, action scenes, dramatic vignettes, and of course, music and SFX…this is a whole new way of bringing the Doctor to life.

Tom does some 'acting'!

Tom does some 'acting'!

So why am I blogging about it?  Because I am not just a fan (Tom is very much MY Doctor, in the same way Roger Moore was MY James Bond – I’m a 70’s/80’s boy!), but I have been responsible for the recording of all the audio, and the editing together of the adventures.  Although (unusually for me nowadays) I am not the named producer/director (that is the gorgeous and uber-talented Kate Thomas), I am bringing my producer/director experience to the editing and mastering of the series, helping to mix the usual BBC audiobooks format with a more radio/audio play style.

Tom, me and Richard making faces...well, why not?

Tom, me and Richard making faces...well, why not?

Imagine my squeel of fanboy joy when I was asked to get involved in this project.  Months ago, when we first talked about it, the whole thing was super hush-hush and I couldn’t tell anyone what I was doing.  But now, the news is out, the interviews are being done, the articles are being released, and the first CD is due out in shops in a month and a half!

Over the past 2 months we’ve spent around 10 days in a radio drama studio in Swiss Cottage, London, and a radio voice-over studio in Central London, recording Tom and the wonderful Richard Franklin (he was Captain Yates back in the day, alongside the Brigadier!), as well as the likes of Rula Lenska, Daniel Hill and Susan Jameson.

In the drama studio

In the drama studio

That first recording session, we all got a thrill down our spines as Tom launched in to the full-on Doctor lines, bringing the character back to life as though the last 25 years had never happened.  He was back!  Doctor Who sounded (and looked) like he should again.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked Peter’s Doctor, and Colin was OK, Sylvestor had the added bonus of Ace, Chris Ecclestone was a breath of freshness, and David, well, what can we say about the superb Mr Tennent?!  But for me, a wee young thing of a lad in the late 70’s and early 80’s, Doctor Who always wears a long scarf, eats jelly babies, is very tall, has piercing eyes and an ever-so sharp and slightly naughty wit…in short (or tall in this case!), Tom Baker!

It’s a been a real pleasure of a job recording and editing this series.  It’s also been, and continues to be, a lot of hard work, long hours and faffing around finding SFX and music and making things balance.  But a boyhood dream has come true…I’ve met Doctor Who, and it was MY Doctor Who, and I haven’t just met him, I’ve worked with him, produced and directed him, and helped create a whole new chapter in the Doctor Who chronicles.

The infamous jelly babies!

The infamous jelly babies!

Boy oh boy I am in geeky fanboy nerd heaven.  I really hope you enjoy the series when it is released.  As I understand it there should be ample opportunities to meet Tom and the cast and get the CDs signed…and you never know, you may just meet me there too!

Hope you like the pictures as well…come on, I HAD to get a few, didn’t I?!? 🙂

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