The Scarifyers 10 – The Gnomes of Death audio review

The Scarifyers

Released by Bafflegab 30th June 2017

Returning after an extended gap, The Scarifyers are back in action, this time dealing with an infestation of malevolent garden ornamentation.

For the uninitiated, The Scarifyers follows the 1930s exploits of ghost-story writer Professor Dunning (Terry Molloy, Davros in 1980’s Doctor Who), and former Police Officer Harry “Thumper” Crow (British acting legend and genre favourite David Warner). Together they work for MI 13, investigating the odd, the unexplained and the downright disturbing.

Through a series of unlikely adventures MI 13, whose number formerly included the late, Nicholas Courtney as Inspector Lionheart, have grappled with mysteries worldwide alongside a roster of guest stars including Leslie Phillips, Brian Blessed, Nigel Havers and Torchwood‘s Gareth David-Lloyd.

The latest adventure kicks of with a murder at an allotment, performed to the sound of small but maniacal laughter. When the body is discovered, with the feet severed from the body, Dunning and Crow are summoned. However, it is the second victim that strikes particularly close to home, as Crow identifies the body as that of the landlord of his local watering hole – The Six Bells.

As Crow attends the funeral, and Dunning the allotment crime scene, the mystery unfolds to include real ale enthusiasts, the true purpose of Morris dancing, an Indian deity and an absolutley terrifying beard!

Writers Simon Barnard and Paul Morris, the team behind a good number of Big Finish’s Jago & Litefoot and Doctor Who adventures, weave a tale of strange brews and even stranger pottery items, in their usual comic horror fashion. Their story unfolds at an unhurried pace, taking its time to enjoy the characters, and reveals a terrifically daft and devious plan by the villain of the piece Thomas Kelley – played to nasal perfection by Matthew Holness, best known for his star turns in cult comedies like Garth Merengi’s Darkplace and Man to Man with Dean Learner.

Barnard, who also produces the remarkable Baker’s End series, assembles an entertaining cast. Of course, the two leads are fantastic; Terry Molloy’s fussy Dunning is hilarious when trying to go undercover, and David Warner’s hard-bitten Crow seems clearly shaken at this attack on his local boozer. Many of Bafflegab’s regulars return in the supporting cast too, like Phil Rose (Robin of Sherwood), Ewan Bailey, Lizzie Roper and David Benson.

Amusing, alarming and decidedly alcoholic in places, if you have not dipped a toe into the world of The Scarifyers before, this is a great place to start!

Extras: This release also comes armed with a couple of amusing bonus tracks, ‘The Curse of the Cult of Thoth’ and ‘Mr Crowley’s Christmas’, both of which previously aired with the series on BBC Radio 4 Extra – and the latter of which features the late, great Nicholas Courtney.