When Vila Met Gan

Written by:
Ben Aaronovitch
Directed by: Andrew Mark Sueall
Episode Length: 30'23m
Originally released: 16/6/2008

Availability: Try store

Starring: Michael Keating (Vila Restal), Owen Aaronovitch (Oleg Gan) and Alistair Lock (Zen).

Crew: Ben Aaronovitch (Writer), Alistair Lock (Sound Design/Music), Dudley Simpson (Original Title Music), William Johnston (Dialogue Editor) and Andrew Mark Sueall (Director). A B7 Production. Based on the original television series Blake’s 7 created by Terry Nation.

“Oh shiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!”

The very existence of this audio is puzzling. It's a story of how Vila and Gan first met... but not the Vila and Gan of the TV series, but the Vila and Gan of the B7 Productions audio plays. Completely different continuity and characterisation. This shouldn't be a problem except... they've cast Michael Keating in the part of Vila. Even this wouldn't be a particular mindfunk - the guy can recreate the role in another medium if he wants, can't he? - were it not for the fact that Dean Harris had already played the part in three audio plays before. This doesn't really make any kind of sense on any level, particularly as trailers indicate that Harris will be back for the series proper in its second season. Oh, and they've used a (tinnily recreated) version of the television theme to further add to the cross-polinated confusion.

So... "sucked". It's not really a word I'd ever thought I'd find myself using in a review, but it sums this one up adequately. It's one great big ball of suck, full of Aaronovitch's cipher characterisations and would-be witticisms, dialogue so bad that even Keating can't wrest much from it. Gags centre around such delights as vomiting and castration, a charmless dirge not made any better by Lock's "laugh now" incidental music and Owen Aaronovitch's wooden Gan. The lack of appreciation of the futuristic SF set-up is given away by the fact that contemporary police sirens are heard through part of it, and "no, but I was about to call an ambulance" is a sample one-liner. I really just don't get this at all. It's thoroughly charmless and the only person likely to think it's funny and well written is the author himself. Who the audio is supposed to appeal to is beyond me, as it contains little for traditionalists and screws with the continuity of the new stuff in return.

I borrowed this one off a friend as I didn't want to shell out nearly ten pounds for a half hour play. Should I have bought myself a copy? No, and neither should you... it's dreadful. With interview snippets acting as extras (including a self congratulatory interview with the writer) then the disc stretches itself to around the 50 minute mark in an attempt to justify its price tag. Very poor.