‘Deathtraps’ (SOL) (Audio)

‘DEATHTRAPS’ (SOL)

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Storm Inside My Head

This is where Sarah Sutton joins the cast of ‘Soldiers of Love’! 😀

After I heard ‘Genesis’, the first episode of the ‘Soldiers of Love’ audio series for my birthday in May 2014, I couldn’t wait to listen to the next one. It was pretty exciting for me as I would at last hear my favourite actress, Sarah Sutton as Colonel Franklyn, which was why I wanted this CD series so much.

As I said in my previous review, ‘Soldiers of Love’ was produced from 1999 to 2005. I’m not sure how Mark J Thompson envisaged the series when he started out writing, directing and producing it. On the ‘Deathtraps’ CD, it may have been considered that ‘Soldiers of Love’ was to run for two seasons.

I was getting into this wild, whimsy, comedic, sci-fi adventure series and enjoying the characters in some of the most ludicrous plots ever. This time round, there were more characters to delve into with their own distinct storylines compared to the four characters featured in the previous episode.

There were also things that changed in terms of the cast with certain characters who appeared in the first episode now played by a different actor. I’ll get into this more as I review the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series. Having heard these episodes again has enabled me to absorb the story and characters.

It was such a delight to hear Sarah Sutton for the first time in ‘Soldiers of Love’. She’s well-known for playing Nyssa of Traken, the Fifth Doctor’s companion in ‘Doctor Who’. I’m sure you know from my ‘Bradley’s Basement’ blog that I’m a very huge fan of Sarah’s in her terms of her work as an actress.

I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Soldiers of Love: Deathtraps’ signed by Sarah Sutton at the ‘Worcester Comic Con’ in August 2016. I showed the CD covers of the second episode ‘Deathtraps’ and the third episode ‘Metamorphs’ to Sarah when I saw her in Worcester, wondering if she remembered them.

Sarah told me that she had been clearing out her cupboard and found the ‘Soldiers of Love’ CDs she’d been given. She said she couldn’t remember them and still can’t remember ‘TravelWise’. 😀 I was like “Poor you, Sarah”. It must be very difficult for her to remember audio productions like this.

I shared with Sarah that she had appeared in seven of the fourteen episodes of this sci-fi comedy drama series. This contradicts what I said to Sarah during a panel at the ‘Science of the Time Lords’ event in Leicester, January 2016 when I said she did nine episodes of the fourteen. Sorry about that.

I told Sarah I found her very good in these audio episodes as Colonel Franklyn. Sarah pointed out to me the actors on the CD covers she remembered. We talked about Gareth Thomas, Nicholas Courtney, Michael Keating, etc. We even talked about the stars that have appeared in ‘Eastenders’.

Anyway, let’s talk about the story. The episode follows directly after what happened in ‘Genesis’, as Cindy, Turnidus, Yztabub and Mydas transmat back to The Nick of Time spaceship. They have trouble piloting the ship. Mydas is still deranged, Yztabub is a drinks machine and Cindy does not know how.

Thankfully Turnidus is able to help out with piloting the ship, which surprises Cindy since Voltarabians have no need of ships. Will our four heroes get into deeper, deeper trouble? Meanwhile, Galileo Gamak, Cindy’s boss, is intent on finding her again after she gets reported dead.

Gamak seeks help from brothel owner Madam Deephole to search for Cindy, which doesn’t exactly go according to plan. Meanwhile, Mydas’ wife Maureen is on her space flight to meet her lover. Also the mysterious Nermal Hammond is about to press forward with his devious plans during the series.

Nicholas Courtney returns as Turnidus and is great to listen to in this episode. Turnidus is still fashion-conscious and naive of the dangers that he and his new friends are facing when aboard The Nick of Time spaceship. Turnidus shares a lot of scenes with Yztabub, as they explore the spaceship.

Sarah Sutton recalls fond memories of working with Nick Courtney. She remembers him eating and drinking wine before sleeping. I’m not sure if Nick Courtney ate, drank and slept during ‘Soldiers of Love’ as well as ‘Mawdryn Undead’. I asked Sarah if anybody woke Nick Courtney from his naps. 😀

Michael Keating returns as Mydas Mydason. I’m afraid Mydas is a deranged shambles in this episode, since part of his mind has been messed around by the Editor in the previous episode. He says some random things which don’t make sense, before he faints and is taken to The Nick of Time’s sick bay.

However, we do get to have a dream sequence where we flashback into Myda’s mind. In his dreams, we have the scenes where Mydas first met Maureen before he married her. There are some explicit sex scenes between Mydas and Maureen, which did shock me when I heard this episode first time.

Sammie Winmill returns as Cindy Rellar. Cindy shows concern for Yztabub and Mydas when they’re having their troubles aboard The Nick of Time. Just as Cindy is about to get the hang of piloting the ship, she falls into a coma. This is where we have to say goodbye to Sammie Winmill from the series.

It’s funny but Sarah Sutton and I talked about Sammie Winmill when I saw her in Worcester. Sarah mistakenly thought that I said ‘windmill’ when I mentioned Sammie Winmill’s name. Thankfully I double-checked and looked inside the ‘Deathtraps’ CD cover and corrected Sarah on the surname. 😀

Mark Preston returns as Yztabub, the human mind trapped inside the drinks machine who becomes friends with Nicholas Courtney’s Turnidus. I have to admit that Yztabub gets on my nerves at times, especially when he’s moaning and he frets about something terrible that happens during the series.

Gareth Thomas makes his first appearance in the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series as Nermal Hammond. For ‘Blake’s 7’ fans, Gareth Thomas is well-known for his role as Roj Blake. For me, I’ve heard Gareth Thomas in some of the ‘Doctor Who’ Big Finish audios including ‘Storm Warning’ with Paul McGann.

In this episode, Gareth Thomas is playing the Editor character who previously appeared in ‘Genesis’. That character was played by Colin Baker in the previous episode. Somehow, his vocal cords changed following the events of that episode. It’s still unclear at this point as to what the Editor’s motives are.

At the ‘Worcester Comic Con’, Sarah and I chatted about Gareth Thomas as she was surprised that he passed away that year in 2016. I’ve never met Gareth Thomas at conventions, but I’m sure he was well-loved by the ‘Blake’s 7’ fans. Gareth also plays a Welsh producer named Hywel and is very good.

Jacqueline Pearce stars in this episode as Madam Deephole. For ‘Blake’s 7’ fans, Jacqueline Pearce is well-known for her role as the villainous Servalan. I’ve met Jacqueline in real-life, as she starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Two Doctors’, with Colin Baker. She was very nice to me when I met her.

Madam Deephole is pretty much in a world of her own as she loves her luxury when Galileo Garnak visits her and requests her help. I’m not sure why Galileo wants Madam Deephole to help him, especially since she’s so frivolous. I wonder how her tale will continue in the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series.

Most importantly, Sarah Sutton is the star of the show for me as she plays Colonel Franklyn, a ruthlessly efficient commander of the Space Patrol in this series’ universe. It was refreshing to hear Sarah play a seemingly no-nonsense person when she inspects the Voltarabia planet from last time.

It was interesting to hear Sarah Sutton as Colonel Franklyn have scenes with Gareth Thomas’ character as there seems to be a connection between them and that she recognises him. It was tense and intriguing when Colonel Franklyn meet Galileo Garnak and they bickered with each other.

The episode also features Alison Taffs return as Maureen Mydason. She has a hard time on her space journey to meet her lover (unknown at this point). She also puts up with three others who get on her nerves including a space dentist named Teddy who has his puppet Mr. Pubas who he thinks is real.

There’s also Teddy’s wife Frag as well as Peter Dean as Padrioli Jadra. At the ‘Worcester Comic Con’, Sarah Sutton told me that apparently Peter Dean was in ‘Eastenders’. I looked online to check him out and apparently Peter Dean did play Pete Beale in ‘Eastenders’. Thank you Sarah for the titbit! 😀

Again like the previous episode, ‘Deathtraps’ features two songs in it. This includes ‘The Space Dentist’ performed by Mark J Thompson as Teddy the Space Dentist with Tiran Aakel, Peter Ager, Nicholas Courtney, Nick Kirby, Mark Preston and Gareth Thomas as the backing vocals for the song.

There’s also ‘Storm Inside My Head’ performed by Michael Keating as Mydas and Alison Taffs as Maureen. Whilst these songs are not memorable, they do help to identify the characters related to them. There’s also a reprise of ‘The Crew Song’ from the previous ‘SOL’ episode in the background.

The episode ends on cliff-hanger where Mark J Thompson as Galileo Garnak finds himself confronting Gareth Thomas’ character and the spaceship containing Maureen with Teddy, Jadra and Frag is about to be attacked. The plot thickens and I wondered where this series was going to next.

Just to say, before I had the ‘Soldiers of Love’ CD series for my birthday in May 2014, years before I had a lovely signed photo of Nicholas Courtney and Sarah Sutton one Christmas in 2012 I believe. I now realise this still photo of Nick Courtney and Sarah is from the recording of ‘Soldiers of Love’. WOW!!!

Nicholas Courtney and Sarah Sutton in ‘Soldiers of Love’.

‘Deathtraps’ is another exciting instalment in the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series. The humour is still sometimes silly and crude, but it’s made up for by enjoying the cast and the performances in this story. I was especially pleased to hear Sarah Sutton as Colonel Franklyn take part in this audio series.

I’m still unclear as to where this series is going and how our heroes will tackle some of the dangers and dilemmas that lie ahead. I’m wondering who this Editor character is, now played by Gareth Thomas and whether Sarah Sutton’s Colonel Franklyn will get into trouble next time. Let’s find out!

‘Deathtraps’ (SOL) rating – 8/10


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