From the worlds of Gerry Anderson… First Action Bureau

❉ New audio drama featuring Sacha Dhawan, Paterson Joseph and Nicola Walker.

Anderson Entertainment, the company founded by Gerry Anderson, has teamed up with Big Finish mastermind Nicholas Briggs to create a new, spy-fi audio drama podcast named First Action Bureau.

The free-to-download, 10-episode series is the latest in a growing line of original productions from Anderson Entertainment, which, following Gerry’s death in 2012, has since become both a legacy project that celebrates Gerry’s life and work, as well as realising new productions, some entirely new and some based off of ideas and concepts which Gerry was working on towards the end of his life.

First Action Bureau boasts an all-star cast, including Genevieve Gaunt (Knightfall, Harry Potter, The Royals), Sacha Dhawan (Doctor Who, Iron Fist, Mr Selfridge), Paterson Joseph (Noughts and Crosses, Timeless, Peep Show), Nicola Walker (Unforgotten, Spooks, Last Tango in Halifax) and Gerry Anderson alumni Richard James (Space Precinct) and Wayne Forester (New Captain Scarlet, Space Precinct).

Written by Jamie Anderson (Gerry’s son) and Nicholas Briggs, the premise for First Action Bureau looks set to bring some modern espionage sensibilities to the worlds of Anderson:

The First Action Bureau exists to protect the Earth – near-utopian by 2068 – from criminal elements before they get the chance to act. Using decades of ‘big data’ and globally connected quantum artificial intelligence, the Bureau is able to predict criminal activity before it occurs. Nero Jones is the best agent the Bureau has. But something strange is going on. Headaches and bizarre dreams are troubling this deadly assassin, and as her missions continue it becomes increasingly clear that all is not well… not just with her, but with the Bureau itself. But where do the lies end? And where does the truth begin?

Co-creator and producer Jamie Anderson says: “First Action Bureau is something different from the worlds of Gerry Anderson. Anderfans will recognise some elements from other Gerry Anderson series like Thunderbirds, UFO, Space:1999 and even Joe 90. But it’s striking out in a new direction – something contemporary and exciting – from the characters, themes and story, to the way we’ve structured and are delivering this story – as a free podcast to fans worldwide – so there’s no barrier to entry.”

As mentioned, whilst First Action Bureau is the latest work from Anderson Entertainment, it’s also the first to be confirmed as being a part of the Anderverse, an ongoing multimedia series that confirms that First Action Bureau, the forthcoming Ultramarionation series Firestorm and the Terrahawks reboot Kate Kestral and the Terrahawks all exist in the same, Marvel-style shared universe, which Jamie explains in some more detail:

“The last 12 months or so have been a very exciting time for us at Anderson Entertainment. We’ve been further developing our slate and have now built an entire ‘Anderverse’: a Marvel-style Gerry Anderson universe. The previously announced Terrahawks reboot, Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm and First Action Bureau now all exist in the same universe with interweaving and connecting storylines and character arcs. COVID lockdown has allowed us further time to develop and connect these projects, and I’m very excited by the potential of this new ‘Anderverse’.

“We’re already in conversation with a number of potential high profile partners, and I’m certain that with the right partners that we can bring together the British version of a Marvel universe, all built around Dad’s incredible legacy.”

Co-creator and director Nicholas Briggs also speaks in enthusiastic tones: “Having been a fan of Gerry Anderson’s shows since childhood, the opportunity to work with Jamie on this new chapter in the worlds of Gerry Anderson was one I couldn’t resist. We’ve had a fantastic time creating First Action Bureau and hope it’ll be tremendously exciting for Anderfans, audio drama fans and podcast lovers alike.”

Nick Briggs and Jamie Anderson in the Studio.

Since 2014, audio productions have formed a large part of Anderson Entertainment’s output. The company’s first major audio series came in the form of reviving Gerry’s cult 1980s Supermacromation series Terrahawks as an audio drama, set in the same continuity as the original series, with much of the original cast returning to reprise their roles. Produced by Big Finish, Terrahawks’ most recent lease of life as an audio production ran for three series.

September 2017 saw the release of three enhanced audiobook adaptations of the Spectrum File novels, a series of Captain Scarlet spin-off novels originally published in 1967. Earlier this year, the first volume of a new audio series of Space: 1999 was also revealed.

Back in May of this year, Anderson Entertainment announced a new partnership with Big Finish to deliver The Gerry Anderson Audio Collection. This ongoing series has so far delivered audiobook adaptations of works based on Space Precinct, Terrahawks, Into Infinity and Gemini Force One, with further productions to come later on. These recent releases have also been made alongside The Gerry Anderson Podcast.

Series One of First Action Bureau is hosted and supported by the team at Captivate, a British-owned and operated podcast hosting platform based in Sheffield. It will be available worldwide for free.

You can listen to the trailer here and subscribe to the series here:

❉ First Action Bureau will be released weekly from October 1st, 2020, and will be made available through all major podcast platforms. The series was developed and recorded remotely during the COVID-19 lockdown.

❉  Fred McNamara is a contributing writer for a variety of digital and print publications, covering comic books, films, TV and more. His work has appeared on such websites as PopMattersWhatCulture, Flickering Myth, Grovel, the Official Gerry Anderson Blog, ScreenRelish, and in such publications as Starburst Magazine, Andersonic and Comic Scene. His work has also appeared in anthologies published by Watching Books and Who Dares Publishing.

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