Bernice Summerfield
Jason Kane
The End of the World

Starring: Stephen Fewell
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99
ISBN: 978 1 84435 275 3
Available 14 September 2007

“So for a long time - years now, really - I’ve had this growing suspicion that everything was, well, everything was just wrong...” Join Jason Kane - author, adventurer, hero and inveterately polysyllabic hyperbolist - on his most exciting adventure yet! He’s going to Hell and back on an impossible quest to stop a man with the powers of a god. Along the way, there are monsters and explosions and unseemly contretemps in the odd posh restaurant. The battle will be hard and will require every last iota of Jason’s famous cunning. What can possibly go wrong...? [Bernice Summerfield is away.]

Jason Kane fans certainly have a cause for celebration. The character recently took centre stage (twice over!) in Dave Stone’s novel The Two Jasons. Now here he is again, taking the lead in the latest Bernice Summerfield audio drama, also written by Stone. He even gets his own theme tune, a funky, decidedly ’60s-sounding adventure-show-style piece. In view of the series title, though (albeit graffitied over with Jason’s name), Benny (Lisa Bowerman) does appear briefly, in both a flashback and a voicemail message.

Like The Two Jasons, the plot is concerned with the unreliability of memory. Jason (Stephen Fewell) discovers that not only has Braxiatel (Miles Richardson) been tampering with his memory but he’s also been meddling with history itself. This interference is cunningly used by the author to explain various inconsistencies that have crept into Bernice's adventures over the years. Brax's sinister plans also symbolise creative directions the series has taken under different editors, who have tended to make life difficult for Benny and her clan.

As with the novel, Mira the telepath (Caroline Lennon) reappears. Given her character’s development in The Two Jasons, I would say that, contrary to the placement notes on Big Finish’s website, the book takes place after the audio drama. On the other hand, an aspect of Jason’s character arc in the novel is resolved here.

The revelations disclosed here have turned many of my assumptions on their heads. I had come to believe that the most recent two seasons take place post-Time War. However, comments made by Braxiatel suggest that the Time Lords are still alive and well, though probably still hiding inside the bottle universe they obtained in the New Adventures novel Dead Romance. Having said that, it becomes clear that Brax has interfered with local history to such an extent that all bets may be off in terms of tying this series in with Doctor Who continuity.

The ending is a real jaw-dropper. Hmmm, maybe not such a cause for celebration for Jason Kane fans after all...

The CD closes with exciting-sounding trailers for the next two productions (I can’t wait!) and a medley of music by Matthew Cochrane and David Darlington, including Jason’s groovy theme tune.

Richard McGinlay

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