Bernice Summerfield
The Worst Thing in the World

Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 10.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84435 059 9
ISBN-10: 1 84435 059 2
Available 16 October 2006

The Drome was set up with the best - or at least the most blatantly venal - of intentions. A self-contained community, wired with microcams, designed to pump out product to the GalNet media-stream 26 hours a Galactic Standard Day. But now the medium is rotting minds, setting them to stumble through the twists and turns of some inhuman plan - and Benny and Jason are caught in the middle of it! Benny finds herself in a fight for life so desperate that she will be forced to do something she has never done before, a horror that she never imagined she could bring herself to commit: the worst thing in the world...

The title of this piece is just asking for trouble, isn't it? As in: "writer Dave Stone's latest Bernice Summerfield adventure is The Worst Thing in the World!" Fortunately, though, the story doesn't live up to the threat of its title, if you see what I mean.

This is in fact an amusing tale about television shows turned bad. As in the 2005 Doctor Who two-parter Bad Wolf/The Parting of the Ways, familiar-sounding TV concepts are warped to lethal effect, though this time it's not just game shows and reality programmes that are affected. Stone and the rest of the production team also have fun spoofing soap operas and historical costume dramas, in which Benny (Lisa Bowerman) and Jason (Stephen Fewell) find themselves becoming unwilling participants. Listen out for overwrought working-class angst and overcomplicated upper-class utterances a-plenty.

The cast also includes the vocal talents of Bernard Holley, of Jonny Briggs and Doctor Who: The Claws of Axos fame.

Somewhat less successful is Jason's newfound penchant for body-part-related expletives, including "cock", "knobbing" and... worse. But apart from that, The Worst Thing in the World is actually rather good.

Richard McGinlay

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