To mark the 50th anniversary of Captain Scarlet’s first appearance on TV (and played by Francis Matthews), Big Finish has released a seven-disc boxset of audio adventures, including a full disc of interviews. It’s a wonderful nostalgia feast for any fan of the show, and if you even half-remember watching the original show it will bring back many memories.
The first discs collect together five original Captain Scarlet stories released as vinyls, and the stories are dark and authentic to the TV show as was. At the time these were available by Century 21 and have been digitally remastered. These were written by Angus P Allan and Richard o’Neill. The rest of the adventures were adapted from TV stories by a range of authors. These are narrated by Ed Bishop, aka Captain Blue and take the Spectrum agents around the world via casinos, New York and the world of fashion modelling. All the ingredients are there: Colonel White, Lieutenant Green and of course the Angels themselves.
Not only do we have thirteen stories, but also some nice touches from the archives such as adverts and unused end music. It’s a real feast of entertainment, and a measure of the effort this boxset has attracted.
As a show Captain Scarlet still poses some difficult questions. Even if the music is of its time, and we have yet to set man on Mars, this supposedly children’s programme took the everyday and made it horrific with simple ingredients. People got killed, Spectrum didn’t always win and perhaps humanity itself was at fault in the first instance for its actions on Mars? Weighty questions, but really this collection is a chance to sit back and remember a time when TV could thrill and fascinate at the same time with well told stories, packed with imagination. Remember though, Captain Scarlet is indestructible, you are not. Don’t try anything at home.
The interviews disc gives some insight into working with Gerry Anderson, and how his shows evolved from before and after the release of Captain Scarlet. It covers technicalities of lighting and miniature photography and tackles the continuing fascination fans have with this show.
If you’ve never heard the original vinyls, or collected the DVDs, this is a great way to remember a real classic. Apart from the discs themselves, the Limited Edition also has a Spectrum Agents Briefing booklet, personnel files and production information.