This is a joyous and amazing release that fans of the original series will lap up.
It has been over two years since Big Finish delivered volume 2 of their loving tribute to the classic 60s TV series. Now volume 3, the final instalment, has arrived and it has been worth the wait. This whole series has been a project from the heart for Big Finish’s executive producer Nicholas Briggs who wrote every episode across all three volumes as well as directed them. This gives the series a continuity that can often be lacking from releases with multiple authors.
Key to this success is the way in which Briggs has recreated elements of the show and in many ways improved on them. The four scripts that constitute volume 3 are designed to work as a whole and they wrap up the many elements of the show that started back with volume 1. It is fair to say though, that if you are unfamiliar with the show then this may not be the release to start with (the original TV series or even the earlier volumes of this series are much more preferable).
Once again the amazing Mark Elstob reprises his role as Number 6 and as in previous volumes, captures the tone and delivery of original star Patrick McGoohan. In fact, he delivers far more emotion than McGoohan ever did on the show, especially in the final two episodes as various plots and conspiracies begin to unravel and reveal themselves.
The supporting cast are remarkable, including Lucy Briggs-Owen (Kate Butterworth/Number Two), Richard Dixon (Professor Jacob Seltzman), Barnaby Edwards (Danvers/Shopkeeper/Marcus Gray/Herr Müller), Glen McCready (Potter/Sir Clifford Earl), and Sarah Mowat (Janet). Briggs-Owen especially stands out playing multiple versions of her characters towards the end, giving each one nuance and depth that makes each of her characters different.
Briggs’ direction is tight, entertaining and never feels bloated. The climaxes work brilliantly throughout and the listener is roped in with the drama along the way. He is ably helped by the impressive sound design by Iain Meadows (who must have loved searching for all the classic 60’ and 70s sounds like rotary phone dials) and the great musical score by Jamie Robertson (who also provides an amazing version of the theme). There are bonus interviews at the end of each episode as well as on a separate disc that also includes a selection of Robertson’s music from the series.
This is a joyous and amazing release that fans of the original series will lap up. It is amongst some the best work Big Finish has done in recent years and deserves to be heard. If you love spy thrillers, or 1960s James Bond movies, you will also find much to love in the set if you are unfamiliar with the source material. My only gripe is that pricing seems excessive for a release of this nature so listeners might want to wait until Big Finish have a sale that reduces the cost a little.
Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: November 2019
Approx RRP: $57 CD, $30 Digital Download