‘Breaking Loose’ (SOL) (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Colonel Franklyn’s Revelations

I felt very sad and heartbroken after I finished listening to this episode of ‘Soldiers of Love’.

‘Breaking Loose’ is the ninth episode of the 14-part CD series from MJTV Productions and the last to feature Sarah Sutton as Colonel Franklyn. I didn’t want this to be the last of Sarah Sutton’s appearances in the ‘SOL’ series. But I decided to be strong and brave whilst I listened to the episode.

Before I get onto the episode itself, I’d like to share with you something interesting about the advertising for the next CD release in the sleeve notes for ‘Breaking Loose’. There’s a ‘coming soon’ advert for CD10. This happens to be a double CD release called ‘Revelations’ and it has two episodes.

These two episodes happen to be called ‘Earth Quake’ and ‘Blood Ties’. This rather contradicts what happens for the rest of the series in the last five episodes. ‘Earth Quake’ is the title for the next episode, whilst ‘Blood Ties’ is the title for the fourteenth. ‘Revelations’ is the title for the thirteenth.

I’m not sure if Mark J. Thompson had originally planned to finish off the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series with a 2-disc CD release and complete it as a 10-part series (technically 11-part). But clearly the decision changed and Mark J. Thompson decided to stretch out the rest of the series for five more episodes.

I would have preferred it if it had ended on a 2-disc CD release, as I lost interest in the series when Sarah Sutton’s character of Colonel Franklyn made her final appearance in ‘Breaking Loose’. This episode also happens to be the first made in 2002, as ‘Forced Entry’ was the only one made in 2001.

I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Soldiers of Love: Breaking Loose’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘York Unleashed’ event at the York Racecourse in York, August 2017. I showed the CD covers of ‘Exegesis’, ‘Forced Entry’ and ‘Breaking Loose’ to Sarah when she’d signed them at the ‘York Unleashed’ event.

I mentioned to Sarah that I’d lost interest in the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series after she left. At the time of the ‘York Unleashed’ event, I shared I hadn’t heard the ‘SOL’ audios in a long time and that I would have to listen to them again so that I can review them. How far I’ve come revisiting this CD series! 😀

The episode ‘Breaking Loose’ commences with the aftermath of the shocking news that Turnidus, Cindy and Frag have received. Turnidus wants to go back home to Voltarabia as he discovers he’s pregnant whilst Cindy wants to go back home to Earth as she discovers she has only days left to live.

Both Turnidus and Cindy tell no-one about their conditions, whilst Frag decides to go and see and make love to Didelious Davenport. Meanwhile, the Galactovision Song Contest on Medicworld continues, as Gamak and Cilla’s song entry takes place. But even more trouble is afoot on the planet.

Arran, with Colonel Franklyn’s ‘assistance’, breaks into Central Command on Medicworld and attempts to threat the lives of everyone. Meanwhile on Earth, Madame Deephole, Violet and Major Grondlepuss rescue Caelys from the Pallbearers? Can they do very much with setting off into space?

Nicholas Courtney returns as Turnidus in the episode. I like Nick Courtney’s performance as Turnidus, as he gets increasingly worried about his pregnancy. Turnidus seems so naive about what to do, as he turns to Frag for support and makes the decision to return to Voltarabia as soon as able.

It’s interesting when Turnidus joins Yztabub, Hywel and Cindy as they go in a lift and get trapped inside. It gets frightening as the lift becomes alive and takes the four up and down with terrifying proportions. I did find it amusing how Voltarabians regard sex in their lifestyle according to Turnidus.

I have enjoyed Nick Courtney’s performance in these ‘Soldiers of Love’ episodes so far, as he’s able to balance both the drama and the humour of his character pretty well. I know I lost interest in the series after I listened to this one, but I do hope Nick Courtney will revive this in the last five episodes.

Gareth Thomas returns as the evil Arran Arkenstein and the jolly-hearted Hywel Hammond. It’s ironic that Gareth Thomas is playing one of the goodies as well as the main baddie in this series so far. But then again, Gareth Thomas does this enjoyable and entertaining Welsh accent to play Hywel.

We’ve yet to hear a scene where Hywel and Arran meet. I wonder if that will happen in the last five episodes. Anyway with Arran, he goes completely power-crazed and over-the-top as he uses Colonel Franklyn to get into Central Command on Medicworld. Arran becomes rather cruel to Franklyn here.

Arran is hoping that Chickenskin will win his entry in the Galactovision Song Contest. He’s also convinced that he killed everyone in a number of episodes ago in the series. But when he sees Turnidus, Cindy, Yztabub, Gamak, Cilla and everyone else on the monitors, he goes completely livid.

Anna Karen returns as Cilla Hammond in the episode. From last time, Cilla was about to do a song with Galileo Gamak in the Galactovision Song Contest to get off Medicworld. But as it turns out, Cilla doesn’t do any singing. She more or less does some funky dancing while Gamak does all the singing.

This leads me to talk about the song ‘they’ sing called ‘Fast Tracking The Universe’, performed by Mark J. Thompson as Gamak with Alison Taffs. I assumed Alison was the female voice for Cilla. But of course she wasn’t. The music, lyrics and arrangement for this song are by Mark J. Thompson himself.

I wonder if Anna Karen didn’t want to sing or whether she was unable to. Either way, it did disappoint me as it would have been amusing if Cilla and Gamak sang together. They eventually finish the song and run into a number of press reporters before getting their chance to escape them.

They try to find a way out in the corridors before they run into Dr. Proctor with Colonel Franklyn as her captive. Cilla knocks Proctor with her glitter ball (don’t mess with her) and she with Gamak and Colonel Franklyn try to find a way out. They run into Frag before they get attacked by evil machines.

Jacqueline Pearce returns as Madame Deephole in the episode. Like in the previous episode, Madame D seems to be the co-ordinator among her group of friends when she, Major Grondlepuss and Violet Goodgrip are rescuing Crispin Caelys. She also gets to be flirty with some male characters.

The episode resolves what happened when Madame D and her group escaped death from the Pallbearers by throwing Caelys’ crisps at them. Madame D makes jokes about Caelys’ nudity before giving him her shawl. They soon escape through the back way via the kitchens from the Pallbearers.

They eventually return to Violet’s ‘Search Out’ home where it’s been thrashed by the Pallbearers. This is before they soon set out into space, hopefully to meet up with our heroes. And I’m not kidding, Madame D declares that they are ‘the soldiers of love’ when they take off. What an in-joke!

There’s no appearance of ‘real’ Mydas, Mrs. Blubber or Snyder in this ‘SOL’ episode, so I guess they’re in the next one. Cindy Rellar returns, voiced by Mark J. Thompson. Cindy is pretty distressed by the outcome of her operation by Davenport, as she has days left to live. Will she live longer than that?

Mark Preston returns as Yztabub in this episode. Like in the previous episode, I don’t think Yztabub does much in this one. He has scenes with Hywel, comments about the Galactovision Song Contest itself and shares being in a lift with Turnidus, Hywel and Cindy. Will he have his real body back soon?

Mark J. Thompson returns as Galileo Gamak in this episode. It’s interesting how Gamak is singing in a song contest early on in the episode before she’s reunited with Colonel Franklyn by the second half. For Gamak, it’s an unhappy reunion with Franklyn since he blames her for what she did 20 years ago.

Mark Preston also plays Frag Timpkin in the episode. I think Frag has the strongest character development in any other ‘SOL’ episode I’ve listened to so far. She starts off showing an interest in Didelious Davenport and falls in love with him, before she’s in trouble as Retsab/Maureen appears.

Mark J. Thompson also plays Major Grondlepuss in the episode. I do think the Major is pretty amusing through misunderstandings he has with Madame Deephole. Seriously, it is pretty entertaining. You can tell there’s flirting between the Major and Madame D, helped by his silly voice.

Alison Taffs returns as Violet Goodgrip in the episode. It’s amazing how some of these characters don’t seem vital to the overall plot of the series and they eventually are. Violet is a good soul who helps to rescue Caelys and becomes part of Madame D’s team when they all go off into outer space.

Niall Stuchfield returns as Crispin Caelys in the episode. I do feel that Caelys has grown on me, as he seems like a capable young man, despite some of his whiny remarks and exclamations of awe. Caelys still hasn’t met Colonel Franklyn, his mother. He never will due to the circumstances of this episode.

The guest cast also includes Niall Stuchfield as Dr. Proctor and Peter Ager as Chickenskin. There’s also Steven Degattis as Didelious Davenport. It’s interesting how Davenport reacts to Frag’s attempts of making love to him. There’s also Nick Kirby who does the voice of the Pallbearers (or one anyway).

Alison Taff also returns as the monstrous Retsab/Maureen. It seems that Maureen may have some compassion left in her, as she spares Frag’s life. The Retsab creature also has Teddy Timpkin, played by Mark J. Thompson. Frag gets to see the remains of her former husband and she becomes horrified.

There is another song in this episode that is for Chickenskin called ‘Dezark Dezark’. I find the tune catchy as the song is sung by Peter Ager, Alison Taffs and Mark J. Thompson, with music, lyrics and arrangement by Mark J. Thompson. But again, like other ‘SOL’ songs, this one isn’t very memorable.

I’ve saved Sarah Sutton for last in my review because this is her last appearance in the ‘SOL’ series and I feel so heartbroken about her departure. I made the most of her last appearance in this audio series. I would like to think there was more potential for her, as her departure felt soon and abrupt.

Colonel Franklyn does start off as a prisoner of Arran and Dr. Proctor at the beginning of the episode. She also gives access to Arran for the Central Command room on Medicworld. She’s eventually rescued by Gamak and Cilla from Dr. Proctor and joins them escaping and finding a way out.

The reunion between Franklyn and Gamak is a painful one, as she tries to reconcile the damage she’d done to him. Franklyn and Gamak call each other by their first names at points. She tells him what Arran told her 20 years ago before she asks forgiveness from Gamak about what she had done.

Gamak can’t seem to forgive Franklyn for all those past things, especially when they had a love affair and he believed she killed their baby. But she soon reveals to Gamak that she never killed the baby and that it ended up being a boy. Gamak is joyous when Franklyn tells him, as it changes everything.

But it doesn’t end well for Franklyn as she gets an untimely death. In this episode, she gets killed by an evil washing machine. I’m not making this up! Yeah! It’s bizarre! I know! I’m sure I’ve told Sarah about this at a convention and she found it amusing. It was of course a horrible way to get killed.

I found the last scene between Franklyn and Gamak heartbreaking, as she reveals all to him about the truth of their baby as she dies. I feel Sarah Sutton’s character as Franklyn is given a better departure scene compared to other actors who’ve had their characters killed off like Michael Keating’s Mydas.

I felt really upset after Colonel Franklyn died in the episode. This wasn’t helped when the ‘Soldiers of Love’ theme music played over the end of it. It was inappropriate. Why couldn’t they have done a silence for Colonel Franklyn’s death like they’d done with Adric when he was killed off in ‘Earthshock’?! 😀

I was pretty devastated by the end of ‘Breaking Loose’, as I felt the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series wouldn’t be the same without Sarah Sutton in it. I wish she had a stronger regular appearance in the ‘SOL’ series and wish her character hadn’t been killed off, since she had a lot more potential to give us.

I didn’t think I could carry on with listening to the rest of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series and I did drift away from it once Sarah Sutton’s departure had been made. I eventually ploughed on with listening to the next episode back in 2014 and I hope I will again as I revisit the ‘Soldiers of Love’ audio series.

‘Breaking Loose’ (SOL) rating – 8/10

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