‘STATE OF EMERGENCY’ (CM)
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Ghost Mansion and the Prime Minister
The fourth and final episode of the first ‘Counter-Measures’ series, ‘State of Emergency’, is by Justin Richards. Justin has written plenty of books and a number of Big Finish audio tales for ‘Doctor Who’.
I found this a gripping season finale to the first series of ‘Counter-Measures’. Everything’s at stake in London, both politically and personally. There were a lot of twists and turns I wasn’t expecting here.
In this episode, Rachel and Allison investigate a ghost mystery at a mysterious mansion. Meanwhile Gilmore is under orders to protect the Prime Minster. It does become tense as our heroes split up.
Pretty soon, all hell breaks loose and ferocious bats attack the streets of London. Also a very un-British coup takes place. This feels like an action-packed thriller adventure that is more to my liking.
It has the feel of the late 60s/early 70s action-thriller movies that Justin wanted to incorporate in his story. He does it in getting Gilmore, Rachel and Allison involved in the action and sometimes in peril.
Simon Williams as Gilmore has been great to listen to in this series. Gilmore is placed in a tricky dilemma of loyalties. He is ordered to protect the Prime Minster whilst he opposes General Peters.
Gilmore makes a stand against the ones imposing the authority in order to save Britain. This was exciting to listen to, since it was interesting to hear Gilmore choose morality over his military career.
Pamela Salem as Rachel is equally great. In this episode, Rachel makes connections to the teleport technology that was used in ‘Threshold’. I did not think we’d get back to the first story for this series.
Rachel is sceptical about there being ghosts at this mansion, but she joins Allison nonetheless to find. She becomes surprised when she discovers that the teleport technology is there in the episode.
Karen Gledhill as Allison is lovely and I enjoyed her journey during this episode. Allison becomes braver in discovering what’s going on with this ghost mansion especially as Rachel accompanies her.
I was shocked as Allison was when she discovered that her boyfriend/fiancée Julian turned out to be a traitor. I did not expect that and it was so gut-wrenching since I liked the love story between them.
Hugh Ross as Sir Toby is delightful to listen to. I found it interesting how Sir Toby persuades Rachel and Allison to investigate this ghost mansion by themselves. He seems to really put his trust in them.
It turns out that Sir Toby is playing acting with General Peters in order to find out what he’s up to and to save the Prime Minister’s life. Sir Toby can be quite noble in his own political nature at times.
The Prime Minister happens to be Harold Wilson (played by Duncan Wibsey). I found it interesting that there happens to be an actual Prime Minster from the 1960s appearing for this Big Finish audio.
Usually when it comes to contemporary political figures, they’re either fictional or unseen. Wilson is up for the General Election. His life gets threatened when General Peters is determined to take over.
General Peters is played by Shaun Scott, who delivers a villainous performance. Peters is this old fashioned British officer who has these ideals of bringing the British Empire back to its former glory.
Peter takes it personally when Sir Toby seemingly betrays him during the episode and when things don’t go his way. It’s interesting how the views of backward-looking people get explored in this tale.
Alistair Mackenzie returns as Julian St Stephen, Allison’s fiancée. It was a shocking surprise to discover Julian had been lying to Allison and that he was working as a double agent during the series.
It was quite painful to hear Julian reveal his true colours to Allison and that he never loved her which was totally unexpected. Allison becomes upset and angry as she makes a painful choice in the story.
The strange bats that appear from this teleport device in the episode sound really terrifying. When they appear, they attack the people of London. I could easily identify these monsters in the episode.
I like how the episode ends with Sir Toby being very pleased with his Counter-Measures team. He sends our heroes, Gilmore, Rachel and Allison on special assignments of such very unusual incidents.
Disc 5 of the ‘Counter-Measures’: Series 1 box-set features a behind-the-scenes making-of documentary on the four episodes of the series itself. I enjoyed listening to this documentary, since it offers this fascinating insight into how the ‘Counter-Measures’ series was created and developed.
The documentary features interviews with producer David Richardson and script editor John Dorney. The introduction features David and John discussing how they came up with the series and how they developed it over the next few years. The inspiration from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ was superb.
There are also interviews with Simon Williams, Pamela Salem and Karen Gledhill who talk about making ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ and comparing that to making ‘Counter-Measures’. There’s also an interview with Hugh Ross who talks about his role of Sir Toby Kinsella in ‘Counter-Measures’.
The documentary looks into the making of the four episodes of the first series of ‘Counter-Measures’ in turn. There are interviews with the writers including Matt Fitton, Ian Potter and Justin Richards who offer their insight on writing for ‘Counter-Measures’. Surprisingly Paul Finich is not interviewed.
There are interviews with the supporting casts of each episode. These include Vernon Dobtcheff, Andrew Fettes and Alison Thea-Skot for ‘Threshold’; Adrian Lukis and Lizzie Roper for ‘Artificial Intelligence’; Stephen Greif for ‘The Pelage Project’ and Alistair Mackenzie for ‘State of Emergency’.
I like how the documentary ends with an outtake of Hugh Ross as Sir Toby asking Big Finish, “Can we have another series?” with everyone laughing. There’s also an announcement by David Richardson who reveals that the second series of ‘Counter-Measures’ is in the making, which sounds so exciting.
I’ve enjoyed listening to the first series of ‘Counter-Measures’. It’s something different and feels intelligent and very 1960s. I’m glad there’s a spin-off series with Gilmore, Rachel and Allison from ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ as well as Sir Toby. I hope I’ll get to enjoy more stories with this team.
‘State of Emergency’ (CM) rating – 8/10
‘Counter-Measures’: Series 1 rating – 9/10
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