‘Baker’s End: Gobbleknoll Hall’ reviewed

❉ Tom Baker and co. are joined by Diane Morgan (TV’s Philomena Cunk) for more fantastical, kooky, absurd and macabre misadventures.

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Things are starting to go a bit peculiar in Happenstance when the crew of a popular ghost-hunting series ‘Manifest Yourself’ comes to investigates the secrets of Gobbleknoll Hall, but only The King of Cats and Suzie can stop them before it’s too late.

Paul Magrs has done it again! This time writing a sequel to September’s BBC Audio Drama Award nominated ‘Baker’s End: The King of Cats’ that’s not only is as good as the first but surpasses it!

The kooky fun really shines through with the endless wordplay and the shades of the absurd and the macabre.

Whilst the writing is key, so is the casting for this series. This cast is simply one of the best every assembled for audio. Tom Baker (‘Doctor Who’, ‘The Book Tower’. Living legend), Katy Manning (‘Doctor Who’, the Iris Wildthyme series), Susan Jameson, Diane Morgan (Philomena Cunk of Charlie Brooker’s ‘Wipe’ series), Stephen Critchlow and the superb David Benson all breath such life into their characters. Not a slacker in the lot of ‘em.

Gosh, I just want to take them all home. Can I keep them, Paul? Please? I’ll feed and water them.

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Unholy trinity: Katy Manning, Tom Baker and Susan Jameson.

From Tom Baker gleefully destroying a cemetery to the episode’s final minute mantra, the story explores some fantastical concepts that I won’t go and spoil here any further, but the influences of David Bowie, ‘Doctor Who’, ‘Ghostwatch’, ‘The Book Tower’ and just a pinch of Douglas Adams are all very apparent.

The kooky fun really shines through with the endless wordplay and the shades of the absurd and the macabre. When the cast is having a good time, it really shows through the finished product.

In fact I had to pause several times while listening to this, because, quite simply, I can’t cackle and listen at the same time.

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Tom and Diane Morgan (TV’s Philomena Cunk).

I’ve always been a big fan of Diane Morgan and hearing her with some of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ luminaries was something I was a quite anticipating. Her deadpan delivery, as Marcella Doody, host of ‘Manifest Yourself’, works wonders against all the madness around her. She nails every single line.

It would be a rotten shame if this is the last time we see her in the series.

Another thing that tickled my fancy was the repetition of the Brian Loughdick joke. Tom Baker ends up switching it around and the character is determined to correct him every time. Gold.

Just say the name “Loughdick” out loud and you will find out why this is hilarious. Heh.

One can only hope Paul and co make many, many more of these in the future. It’s like the beginnings of a slow descent into insanity, and you’ll love every minute of it. Won’t you join me?

Well, don’t stand there like a gilly-gaupus! Go buy the fudgeknocking episode!


❉ ‘Baker’s End: Gobbleknoll Hall’ will be released on CD and download on 2 December 2016, and will be available from www.bafflegab.co.uk or Amazon.

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