I’ve always had a soft spot for series that spin off from the televised versions of shows, particularly when they have the opportunity to explore a locale or characters that the parent can’t within the timeframe. This second set of adventures for the Counter Measures team – as introduced in Ben Aaronovitch’s Remembrance of the Daleks – continues to combine an ITC film series vibe with a more down to Earth examination of wild events, in the mould of Quatermass.
Matt Fitton kicks off the new series with a bang, with all apparently changing within the Group. Sir Toby is up to his usual tricks, not letting his left hand know what his right is doing (and in light of the ending of this particular story, I won’t be in the least surprised if that turns out to be literally the case at some point soon!), with Rachel, Allison and, to an extent, even “Chunky” Gilmore pawns in his game.
It becomes apparent though that someone else has been playing games too: even Sir Toby is surprised by some of the developments within this story, which uses sound to convey what might be quite expensive special effects. A few questions are left begging with regard to what happens to affected characters’ clothing, and I’m a little surprised that Gilmore calls for help from MI6 (the foreign service) rather than MI5 (the domestic security service) at the end, but this are minor niggles that occur once you’ve finished listening, rather than during the rapid twists of the tale.
The sound design is once again excellently inventive – having been in the studio for this story, I realise even more just how much needs to be built up around the actors’ performances. Those provide a very strong foundation – Lucy Fleming, Blake Ritson and Gemma Whelan guest star alongside Simon Williams, Pamela Salem, Karen Gledhill and Hugh Ross as the regulars, and there’s a real crackle of energy throughout the story courtesy of director Ken Bentley.
Verdict: A strong reintroduction for the CMG team. 8/10