My favorite BBC Radio station was always BBC7’s 7th Dimension, their science fiction and fantasy showcase which sadly got shut down a while ago, at least as a separate entity. It didn’t just go away, though; they folded it into BBC Radio 4Extra, where it joined up with some other quality radio plays and book readings. Last weekend, they aired Terry Pratchett’s Only You Can Save Mankind, and they are running J.G. Ballard’s The Drowned World this week, James Follett’s The Destruction Factor, and the outer space comedy The Laxian Key. While the Pratchett episodes have mostly evaporated (just one left at the moment), you can still listen again to the others. But the exciting bit is what is coming, starting with a brand new Doctor Who radio play, Cobwebs, which begins Monday at 6PM (GMT/UT, adjust for your local time zone) and runs each day for 4 episodes through Thursday. This one stars Peter Davison as The Doctor, Janet Fielding as Tegan, Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Sarah Sutton as Nyssa; I can’t wait. While I am still heartbroken that the Tom Baker/Elisabeth Sladen new radio plays will now never be made since we lost Lis (Tom will still be doing new ones), it is good to know there continue to be new Who stories being created by our old friends.
Nor is this phenomenon unique to Doctor Who. According to this SFX story, they are wrapping up production on Torchwood this week, and are about to go into the studio to record three new Torchwood radio plays. The first one they did, Lost Souls, was aired on the day CERN fired up its super collider in September of 2008, referred to as Big Bang Day by a lot of people who wondered if they would blow up the planet (and don’t you feel silly now?). Then in 2009 they did three more, called Asylum, Golden Age, and The Dead Line. These stories took place between seasons two and three, airing consecutively on July 1st, 2nd, and 3rd of 2009, followed immediately by season three, Children of Earth, which ran for 5 consecutive nights, July 6th through the 10th. These are all excellently done radio dramas, and if you haven’t heard them yet you can buy the disks from Amazon or download them from iTunes, and they are worth every penny. The three new episodes will be broadcast on BBC4 sometime this summer, which you can listen to online.