While CultBox is familiar with Day of the Triffids in its various forms, the announcement that Big Finish was adapting its sequel Night of the Triffids into an audio drama came as a bit of a surprise; chiefly as we had never heard of it.
Simon Clark’s 2001 novel, adapted for audio by the author, picks up John Whyndham’s story some twenty-five years on and follows the plight of humanity through the exploits of David Masen, the original hero Bill’s son. Having grown up in the relative safety of the Isle of Wight, David is a pilot and part of the group that maintains the safety of the humans in a Triffid-free enclave.
The fragile harmony of this community is rocked by the apparent failure for the sun to rise one morning. With wild predictions bandied about suggesting God has chosen to finish what he started, namely the extinction of man, David is chosen to fly up above the island and try to understand the nature of the blackout.
After a crash landing, and the discovery of a feral girl who appears to carry a natural immunity to the killer plants, rescue comes in the form of an American steamship. Falling in with the science team on board, he is unwillingly transported to New York and acquires a celebrity status as the first European to be seen in decades.
Manhattan is another thriving island community, in this case where military might holds the Triffids back. The wonders of modern technology dazzle our hero for a while, but he soon uncovers some dark and disturbing secrets at the heart of the metropolis, such as enforced segregation based on both race and sight. It transpires this community’s leader is prepared to go to unparalleled lengths to restore man’s dominance of the planet.
Sam Troughton, grandson of Patrick (Much in BBC One’s most recent Robin Hood series), provides a joyfully earnest first person narrative as David Masen. Nicola Bryant shows her versatility in three linked roles, the primary of which is as Masen’s love interest Kerris.
Despite providing some further development with addition mutations, the story stays away from the subject of the Triffid’s origins. Early on, Bill Masen discusses their apparent ability to communicate and makes a crack about “Triffid High Command”, but the malevolent flora’s mystique remains.
Indeed, in flashback scenes, it is revealed that he as become industrious; both harvesting the plants as a source of both food and duel. There is also some discussion of mankind’s future unless they begin producing things again, rather than simply scavenging on the remains of what went before.
With an involving story full of action and not afraid of tackling some challenging themes, The Night of the Triffids expands on the world of the original while keeping its style and it neatly compliments Big Finish’s recent revival of Terry Nation’s Survivors series.
Although the story ends on an optimistic beat, it feels that there is so much more to this world and we would love to explore it further.
Extras: This release is accompanied by approximately one hour of additional content, available to download from the Big Finish website, with contributions from the author, producer and most of the cast.
Released in September 2014 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.
What did you think of the adaptation? Let us know below…