AUDIO DRAMA
Soldiers of Love
Part Six - Haunted Lives

Starring: Mark J Thompson, Anna Karen and Jacqueline Pearce
MJTV
RRP 9.99
Available now


Having supposedly been gunned down, Galileo Gamak is surprised to awaken in an unfamiliar room - is he in the afterlife? Meanwhile, Colonel Franklin exerts her tyrannical control of the Space Patrol. And a cleaner gives Madame Deephole's entrance a good seeing to...

As you may have gathered from the cast members listed above, the usual stars of this seedy CD series - Michael Keating, Gareth Thomas and Nicholas Courtney - are all conspicuous by their absence during this episode. But, by way of compensation, we can enjoy the welcome return of Jacqueline Pearce as the lascivious Madame Deephole. Cindy Rellar also reappears, although this time she is not played by Sammie Winmill. Just as Cilla did in Part Three, Cindy wakes up to find that something strange has happened to her voice, which enables Mark J Thompson to stand in for Winmill by doing a pretty decent impersonation of her former performance.

Also conspicuous by their absence are the usual musical tracks, although I was never a great fan of these anyway.

In addition to the return of Pearce, Blake's 7 fans are in for a further treat, as the mimicry continues courtesy of the eerily familiar sounding Stellar Network Radio serial, Jake's Heaven, which is now forced to carry on without its former star, Jake Avara. It is revealed that Jake and Jenny (Alison Taffs) are to be replaced by two new celebrity characters: Chris Tarrant and Dana! The situation in which Gamak (Mark J Thompson) and his fellow survivors find themselves at the beginning of the episode is also notably similar to events in the risible Blake's 7 follow-up novel, Afterlife.

Several new plot twists and a move away from the surface of Xoolian Major and the hijacked space cruiser makes for a refreshing change of emphasis. Never fear, though, for the ever-present double entendres remain. Indeed, they just get filthier, especially when Madame D and her alien cleaner Major GrondlePuss (Mark J Thompson again) get going.

Richard McGinlay