The Actor Speaks Volume 1 - Gareth Thomas

RRP: 9.99
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Though essentially an interview CD, this product is also something rather more than that.

The actual interview comes in two parts. The first of these analyses, in considerable (some might even say anally retentive) detail, the personality and back story of Gareth Thomas' most famous character, the titular hero of Blake's 7. It is asserted, for example, that Roj Blake's band of outlaws may have been a surrogate family to him, although Thomas himself remains unconvinced about this theory.

The second part of the interview covers the actor's various roles in MJTV's on-going comedic sci-fi CD series, Soldiers of Love. It reveals just how long a history SOL has had, ever since its beginnings as an amateur cassette-recorded student venture. The discussion also discloses the surprising fact that Thomas' popular Welsh TV producer character, Hywel Hammond, actually began life as a spur-of-the-moment plot device.

In case you were beginning to think that all this sounds just a little too serious for an MJTV production, the camp Hywel is also heard, in character, in a monologue written by Mark J Thompson and performed by Gareth Thomas. Two further monologues, written by Thomas himself, feature the more sombre - though far from humourless - character of a medieval monk. They are read, rather charmingly, by Thomas' SOL co-star Nicholas Courtney.

The CD is rounded off by a brand-new "Galactovision TV advert" for Jake's Heaven, the Blake's 7 spoof that briefly but memorably featured in Soldiers of Love. Starring Thomas as the Gregorian-chanting computer ANET, along with several other SOL cast members, this sketch lampoons numerous key moments from Blake's 7 in the space of a few minutes.

This is a peculiar mixture, then, but one that bears repeated listening rather better than your average interview CD.

Richard McGinlay