The Slide

Author: Victor Pemberton
Starring: Maurice Denham, Roger Delgado, Elizabeth Proud and David Spencer
BBC Audio
RRP: 15.99
ISBN: 978 1 4056 7785 1
Available 06 August 2007

During an abnormal heatwave in March, the air becomes thick and dull. Nothing moves - you can almost hear the silence. Redlow, a new town in Kent, was the dream of self-made man, Hugh Deverill, MP. At a crowded and restless town meeting, Janet Marshall faints due to the stifling atmosphere. She is helped by her friend Dr Ken Richards - just as a sudden earthquake tears the room apart. A long, deep crack in a road is discovered nearby, and powerful tremors are felt along the South Coast. When torrents of seething mud start emerging from the fissure, scientist Josef Gomez is called in: the mud contains a special organism that can control people's minds. And it can kill. Declared a disaster area, Redlow becomes a state of emergency. Then other fissures appear...

Forming part of BBC Audio's third wave of Classic Radio Sci-Fi releases (along with The Kraken Wakes and Childhood's End) this is a seven-part original radio drama serial written by Victor Pemberton.

Something of a legend in radio sci-fi terms, this 1966 serial is absent from the radio archive but has been made available to the BBC by the writer himself. It concerns the residents of a quiet English village besieged by a sentient mud, and their efforts, along with the expert Professor Gomez, to battle against it. The serial is especially notable to Doctor Who fans, as Pemberton later went on to become script editor of Doctor Who and also wrote an audio adventure (Doctor Who and the Pescatons). The Slide also stars Roger Delgado, who went on to play The Master in Doctor Who.

While entertaining enough, this production hasn't aged as gracefully as it might have done. However, sci-fi fanatics will be glad that this is finally available to buy.

Nick Smithson

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