Star Cops: Blood Moon 1 audio review

Posted Filed under

The Star Cops are back for Blood Moon, a new monthly audio series. 

The brainchild of Blake’s 7 script editor and Doctor Who scribe Chris Boucher, Star Cops, the BBC’s 1987 futuristic police procedural came and went like a summer cloud. Behind-the-scenes problems, industrial action and an unhelpful timeslot did nothing to aid the show, even after it launched with a Radio Times front cover.

Radio Times Star Cops cover from July 1987 featuring David Calder as Commander Nathan Spring, standing on the moon with the Earthrise behind him

However, those who watched enjoyed clever ideas, witty dialogue and winning performances from an engaging ensemble cast.

That legacy runs through the show’s terrific Big Finish audio continuation, now onto its fourth series with a mix of original and new characters.

Blood Moon

The latest six-part run enjoys a format change with episodes dropping monthly. It also has a teasing framing device which suggests it might herald the end of the loveably boorish Inspector Colin Devis…

Part One: I Was Killed Yesterday

The series begins with a murder at a space port which, despite being on Earth, comes under the purview of the ISPF. The victim is a scientist who, thanks to his own pioneering work, has left behind an AI brain print which can aid the investigation.

Meanwhile, as he investigates the late Professor Olivier Devraux’s moon base facility, there’s a surprise in store for Colin Devis with the arrival of a lunar logistics courier named Sophie (Rosa Coduri).

Star Cops Blood Moon 1 I Was Killed Yesterday cover art

Andrew Smith’s script tackles the ever-present topic of AI but finds a fresh angle on the subject – one it’s easy to believe people might think was worth killing for. The introduction of Sophie adds a impactful dimension and it’s handled in a believable manner, with the script paving the way for us much earlier than for the Star Cops themselves.

Part Two: Daughters of Death

The second investigation comes from playwright Nicola Baldwin. While new to the world of Star Cops, she is eminently qualified as the writer of Woman From Mars, a play about Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman.

Sharman’s experiments growing crystals in zero gravity inspire the setting aboard a space station which bears her name. After an industrial accident and inconsistencies in the report, Pal Kenzy and Alice Okaro visit the station to investigate.

Star Cops Blood Moon 1 Daughters of Death cover art

Meanwhile, Devis adjusts to his new situation and begins to get to know Sophie. Their relationship is fractious, but they also have plenty in common too – such as a headstrong attitude, which leads Colin to put her in harm’s way.

‘Daughters of Death’ is a terrific story which slowly increases the tension as it draws in the whole team. The Sharman One is a well-imagined location too, and guest star John Banks shines as the slippery Professor Max Fleming.

Part Three: Troubled Waters

Desalination is the focus of the third story, proposing a future where the Saudis get out of oil and into solar technologies. The Star Cops become involved when a reporter goes missing after doing an interview on Moonbase. While his colleagues see this as a missing persons investigation, Devis believes it might answer some questions for him.

Star Cops Blood Moon 1 Troubled Waters cover art

The story brings Paul Bailey (Philip Olivier) and Devis to Barcelona, where they encounter a web of intrigue and an anarchist plot.

Writer Una McCormack weaves a clever tale which kept us guessing throughout, with a dubious professor, a conflicted journalist and the principled Flora (Norah Lopez Holden). There’s also some terrific fun as Devis tries to interact with the anarchists!

In Summary 

At the series midpoint, it’s difficult not to suspect that we’re being played over the future of Devis. Is he doomed or merely bound for an early retirement?

Putting that aside, the first half of Blood Moon provides three fascinating stories, each taking present-day scientific concepts and thoughtfully throwing them forward. However, as always, it all rests on the terrific interaction between the characters. There’s lots of travel too, giving weight to the Star Cops’ international remit (even if they’re led by four Brits and Aussie!)

Now settled in her Chief Superintendent’s role, it’s great to hear Pal Kenzy (Linda Newton) taking on more responsibly and mentoring newcomer Alice Okoro (Lynsey Murrell), who’s proving her worth. Meanwhile, David Calder continues to shine as the put-upon Nathan Spring, who’d far rather focus on being a copper, rather than have the responsibilities of Moonbase Commander.

With the revelations in his personal life, these three tales show Devis in a different light and give Trevor Cooper the scope to explore the character’s emotional range. He’s first entirely thrown, then protective, and by the end granted a new purpose.

With assured direction from Helen Goldwyn and superb sound design from Steve Foxon, Blood Moon is an absolute treat so far. Although we are rather concerned about Devis.

5starStar Cops: Blood Moon is landing monthly (between January and June 2024) at Big Finish.

Next Episode:

The Blood Moon storyline continues with April’s ‘A Cage of Sky’ by James Swallow.

Star Cops Blood Moon 2 A Cage of Sky cover art

Devis makes a dubious deal with a notorious hacker, which leads him on to dangerous ground…

Meanwhile, Nathan and his team uncover troubling goings-on at a remote lunar prison facility, where inmates are dying under mysterious circumstances.

‘London Zone’ by Andrew Smith follows in May, while the ominously titled ‘Devis’ by Roland Moore concludes the series in June.