“Carry On Investigating? I’ve not seen that one…”
And with that tip of the hat to Sid James and company, Mark Wright and Cavan Scott (Pathfinder Legends) sets Mem’selles Williams (Karen Gledhill) and Jensen (Pamela Salem) in the awkward position of giving a rubber stamp audit of a clean energy researching business concern run by a WWII-era German expat.
But no sooner have they begun to look into matters, than they find their Whitehall access inexplicably revoked…
What is going on behind closed doors at the conference rooms and research labs of New Horizons? How does it tie into the wacky beliefs of the Vril Society? And is there a government plot to steal industrial secrets involved?
Then series director Ken Bentley investigates England’s version of Guantanamo Bay – a mysterious, top secret prison facility known as The Keep.
But why are Sir Toby and Group Captain Gilmore being held there…and moreover, can they possibly escape?
With doppelgangers taking their place in Counter-Measures and disturbing hints of compromised memory, mind control and even device implantation seeming to bear merit, the team must initiate a full scale prison riot to effect their return to the world at large…
“Prod the tiger. See if you can’t make it roar.”
“As long as we don’t make it bite…”
Next up, John Dorney (1963: the Assassination Games, King of Sontar, The Crooked Man) starts to pull together the interweaving strands laid down in the two previous adventures for Rise and Shine, where a much larger conspiracy of sorts comes to Light…and their rather singleminded sleeper agents.
But there are wheels within wheels, plots and counter plots to be reckoned with…
Can the team sort things out in time to prevent a global chemical plague? And with all this mind control and manipulation taking place in the meantime…can Earth possibly survive?
“People elect governments so they will take care of them. They don’t want to know all the details.”
“But if the government ends up being run like some private members club with boys playing games of one-upmanship, then the needs of the people get overlooked.”
And finally, Matt Fitton (The Dark Planet, The Wrong Doctors, Signs and Wonders) wraps things up with a Clean Sweep, where the team ferrets out a few remaining loose ends and ensures they are summarily addressed…
“With respect? I don’t detect any respect in your tone, Group Captain.”
“I wonder why that is…sir?”
Not a bad little piece of sci-fi tinged conspiracy theorizing, Series 4 of
Counter-Measures holds true to form, with veterans Ross, Williams and Salem alongside relative newcomer Gledhill lending appropriate authority and gravitas, not to mention no small measure of fleshed out, instantly recognizable and well rounded characterization to characters that could easily have remained at the level of cipher, given all the busy machinations and dynamics of plot that drive these tales.
The experience of the cast truly shows through, particularly in the use of subtlety (rather than the sort of obviousness leaning towards caricature to which all too many younger thespians seem prone) to convey depth and unwritten backstory to their roles. Hats off once again.
Less of a collection of standalone tales than one long multi-author adventure, Series 4 finds its cast in decidedly less intimate circumstances than usual.
But while these sort of Grant Morrison Justice League/Warren Ellis Authority style “huge, Earth shattering stakes” affairs tend to come off quite flat and ill fleshed out in terms of characterization and the interrelations thereof, Big Finish manages to retain a sufficient degree of attention to the more intimate and political machinations-oriented approach to which regular listeners of the series are accustomed to keep things from getting too far off kilter.