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The Sci-Fi Love Saga Begins
Imagine this as a bonkers sci-fi show similar to ‘The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’!
In 2014, I asked for the ‘Soldiers of Love’ audio CD series for my birthday. My Dad purchased the complete 14-part series from the MJTV website. I had the audio CD series for my birthday in May that year. I was so looking forward to hearing this sci-fi comedy drama with some of my favourite stars in it.
‘Soldiers of Love’ was an audio CD series produced from 1999 to 2005 by MJTV Productions. I was unaware of this CD series and I’m not sure many ‘Doctor Who’ fans were aware of ‘Soldiers of Love’. The fourteen episodes of this CD series were written, produced and directed by Mark J. Thompson.
For those who don’t know Mark J. Thompson, he produced and directed the first series of ‘Doctor Who’ Companion Chronicles for Big Finish, including ‘Frostfire’, ‘Fear of the Daleks’, ‘The Blue Tooth’ and ‘The Beautiful People’. He also wrote and directed the four-part education drama, ‘TravelWise’.
The reason why I wanted this audio CD series was because Sarah Sutton starred in some episodes. Being a Sarah Sutton/Nyssa fan, I couldn’t resist hearing this audio series and finding out what Sarah was like in it. I’m pleased that I heard ‘Soldiers of Love’, as it was superb to listen to for my birthday.
I hadn’t listened to ‘Soldiers of Love’ for a long time since I listened to it back in 2014. I wanted to re-listen to these audio episodes so that I can review them someday. Thankfully with my ‘Bradley’s Basement’, I was able to review this series and not have many restrictions as I did when on Amazon.
Like I said before, this is a sci-fi comedy drama series and it features actors from shows like ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Blake’s 7’ and ‘Eastenders’. In this first episode of the series called ‘Genesis’, it stars Nicholas Courtney, Michael Keating and Sammie Winmill with special guests Colin Baker and Norman Lovett.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Soldiers of Love: Genesis’ signed by Colin Baker at the ‘Stars of Time Film and Comic @ The Tropicana’ in Weston-super-Mare, August 2016. When I asked Colin if he remembered appearing in this episode of ‘Soldiers of Love’, he said “Yes” which was surprising to hear.
The comedy drama series is pretty campy and smutty. There are a number of rude moments which I had to adjust to when listening to this audio series. But I enjoyed some of the characters featured in this audio series and the performances that the cast gave in these episodes were so astounding to hear.
‘Soldiers of Love’ is set in the year 2133. In the first episode called ‘Genesis’, two unlikely people get chosen as lucky, lucky winners in a game show competition. These two unlikely lucky winners are Sammie Winmill as scientist Cindy Rellar and Michael Keating as ex-gameshow host Mydas Mydason.
They get chosen to visit the planet Voltarabia. Cindy and Mydas get put into cryosleep for three weeks whilst looked after by the grumpy, reluctant, transsexual being Norman Lovett as Cilla Hammond. It turns out that Cindy and Myda’s lucky winning is not what they had expected it to be.
Cindy and Mydas seem to be wanted by Colin Baker as this strange Editor, who is over-the-top and dresses himself up as one of the Voltarabians named Brartop. Can Cindy and Mydas get unlikely help from Nicholas Courtney as elephantine King Turnidus as well as the drinks machine named Yztabub.
Nicholas Courtney is a joy to listen to in this audio series. For ‘Doctor Who’ fans, Nicholas Courtney is well-known as Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart. It was extraordinary to hear Nick Courtney play a different role to what he usually does in ‘Doctor Who’ and to have him play this rather silly alien king.
In the first episode, Turnidus seems more interested in his fashion sense rather than in his duties as a king. He forms this interesting connection with Mark Preston as Yztabub, a drinks machine from Earth who’s distraught and seems to be a human trapped inside. Turnidus is also so naive to danger.
I enjoyed Michael Keating’s performance as Mydas Mydason in the series. For ‘Blake’s 7’ fans, Michael Keating is well-known for playing Vila Restal. For me, he also guest starred in the ‘Doctor Who’ story, ‘The Sun Makers’ with Tom Baker’s Doctor. His character in this series is quite amusing.
Mydas Mydason used to be a successful gameshow host, but is having a terrible marriage with his wife Alison Taffs as Maureen, who’s clearly a bitch. When he gets the call that he’s one of the winners in this competition, he takes it on readily, even though he doesn’t remember entering for it.
Sammie Winmill is funny as Cindy Rellar in this episode. I don’t know Sammie Winmill that well as an actress, but she’s best known for playing Carol in the sci-fi series called ‘The Tomorrow People’. She’s a British actress, but from this first episode she sounds American like Peri from ‘Doctor Who’.
There are times when Cindy can get highly strung and gets suspicious when she has that intuition that something’s not right. She shares this with Mydas when they’re aboard the spaceship called The Nick of Time (I did not make that up!), but he seems oblivious to it before and after their cryosleep.
Colin Baker was a joy to listen to in this audio episode. For ‘Doctor Who’ fans, Colin is well-known for playing the Sixth Doctor from 1984 to 1986. It was fun to hear him play an over-the-top villain for this episode. I wondered what the Editor’s motives were here and why he wanted Cindy and Mydas.
I enjoyed the exchanges Colin Baker’s character had with Norman Lovett’s, as they bicker with and insult each other. The Editor attempts to play with Myda’s mind as well as dress up as one of the Voltarabians named Brartop. I wish Colin had appeared in some more episodes of this audio series.
It was great to hear Norman Lovett in this episode as Cilla Hammond. For ‘Red Dwarf’ fans, Norman Lovett is well-known for his role as Holly, the spaceship’s onboard computer. Me personally, I’ve seen Norman Lovett guest star in a ‘Keeping Up Appearances’ episode. That was Series 1, Episode 4.
Cilla is a grumpy sort, since she happens to be a woman inside a man’s body. This took some adjusting for me to get used to when I listened to the episode. Some dialogue is funny when Cilla makes snappy remarks to characters like Cindy, Mydas and the Editor when he/she interacts with them.
Just to say, it was intriguing listening to Alison Taff as Maureen Mydason and wondering what her bitchy motives were when she was pleased to hear Mydas was gone and was on her way to meet her lover. It was also interesting hearing why Yztabub’s mind has been transferred into a drinks machine.
By the way, one of Turnidus’ friends on Voltarabia named Gulgolin, played by Mark J. Thompson, sends a message to a Colonel Franklyn. This happens to be Sarah Sutton’s character who will appear more in the series later on. I got excited by that and I wished Sarah Sutton appeared in this episode.
The ‘Soldiers of Love’ series also has songs in the episodes. To be honest, these songs slowed down the story and they’re not that memorable. For this episode, there are two songs including ‘It’s Such A Drag Being Bad’ and ‘The Crew Song’. These two songs are performed by the cast for this episode.
‘It’s Such A Drag Being Bad’ is performed by Colin Baker, Alison Taffs and Norman Lovett, whilst ‘The Crew Song’ is performed by Michael Keating, Nicholas Courtney, Mark Preston and Sammie Winmill with the chorus by Alison Taffs and Mark J. Thompson. I recognised the chorus when I listened to it.
The chorus for ‘The Crew Song’ is performed during a scene in ‘TravelWise’, also directed by Mark J. Thompson. From watching ‘TravelWise’, I wondered where that chorus came from and what episode of ‘Soldiers of Love’ it was in. I’m glad I know and it was very catchy to listen when I heard the song.
The theme music for ‘Soldiers of Love’ is also very catchy to listen to. I don’t know why, but it put me in mind of the time tunnel during the credits of the Tom Baker seasons of ‘Doctor Who’. I suppose this is an example of my ability to latch onto something via audio when thinking of ‘Doctor Who’. 😀
The episode ends on a cliff-hanger with the Editor and Cilla having escaped and Turnidus, Cindy, Mydas and Yztabub about to teleport to The Nick of Time spaceship. Mydas’ mind seems to be affected as he’s become a rambling shambles. I wondered what was to happen in the next instalment.
‘Genesis’ is an exciting beginning to the ‘Soldiers of Love’ series. I did find the humour sometimes silly and often crude in places. But it was entertaining to listen to and the performances of Nicholas Courtney, Michael Keating, Sammie Winmill, Colin Baker and Norman Lovett were a joy to listen to.
I wondered what was going to happen next and how our heroes were going to escape the danger they were in. I was looking forward to the next episode, especially since Sarah Sutton would make her first appearance as Colonel Franklyn in the series. I was bubbling with excitement for next time.
‘Genesis’ (SOL) rating – 8/10
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