Judge Dredd
99 Code Red!

Starring: Toby Longworth, Mark Heenehan and Mark Caven
Big Finish
RRP £9.99
ISBN 1 84435 050 9
Available now

When a rookie is wounded in a gunfight, Judge Dredd is forced to give the emergency signal for a Judge down - 99 Code Red. But with Mega-City One in the grip of a fearsome tempest that grounds all aerial vehicles, Dredd must brave the overcrowded, understaffed squalor of Mega-City General. When patients at the hospital fall victim to a virulent plague, Dredd must keep order before the occupants take the lethal virus into the streets outside. Drama turns into a crisis as Dredd locks down the Emergency Room!...

99 Code Red! is directed by Nicola Bryant who does a fantastic job of really throwing us into the hustle and bustle of Brit-Cit - something that hasn't fully been explored before. There is a real feel of what the futuristic city is like with some great streets sounds and futuristic Rap-like music. We also see Dredd dealing with a couple of prostitutes - so the world's oldest profession is still going strong.

The plot-pushing action that takes place in the Shakespearean theme park is also well thought out. Background noises take us through The Eastend Experience, which is just a looped tape of some of the characters, who have long since left the BBC's EastEnders series, and their catchphrases (including Frank Butcher: "This is Family!" and Bianca: "Ricky!")

I also loved Enigma Smith's take on "Merry Olde Eng-er-land". Great to see that Americans still perceive England as a country that is constantly foggy, has a population with poor dental hygiene who like to drink warm beer. It also strengthens an argument about Shakespeare that I have personally held for many years. How is it that a guy who was partly illiterate, and who frequently made up words, got to become the greatest playwright on the planet? He is, quite literally, as Smith points out: "A dead dude who couldn't spell".

There is also a subtle Star Trek: Voyager reference as the Robodoc's first words on being activated are: "Please state the nature of the medical emergency."

Another well acted, written and directed audio drama from Big Finish.

Darren Rea

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