Having thoroughly enjoyed the classic audio novel of the Masque of Mandragora I decided to get the DVD, also great fun. Looking on Wikipedia I then found this Big Finish CD which I am greatly looking forward to listening to as it nicely continues the story in the Masque! Excellent value for money too! Well now I have listened to it I just wish that I had read griffin's review first as, of course, it was not a stand-alone adventure but needed the next three stories to complete the tale. I hope the remaining parts are as good as 'Buried Secrets'!
"A Trip to Florence to help an old friend leads to the unearthing of a murderous conspiracy buried within the city's catacombs..."
This story develops slowly but is an intriguing start to the 2nd season of SJS. I loved the italian-theme and want to know more about the mysterious white and crimson chapters. Just a warning to buyers : this is NOT a self-contained story - you need to listen to the later three releases in the series (Snowblind, Fatal Consequences and Dreamland) to find out what happens! In fact I recommend you listen to them back-to-back, it's much more enjoyable that way. For those familiar with the first season of SJS, this story is a great improvement style-wise, with more convincing characterisation and situations. The developing story-arc also works and flows well because all four releases are written by one writer, David Bishop. Lastly, the theme music's much better than last season's. In short, if you liked series 1, get this and the others; if you want to try SJS, get this series!
A great series of Elizabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith) audio CDs, and this 'Buried Secrets' is the first audio CD of the second series of four CDs produced by 'Big Finish' from in 2005 to 2006. They follow on from the first series of five CDs that started in 2002 with 'Comeback'. These audio CDs are a spin-off from the BBC's Dr Who TV series, where Sarah Jane was originally the companion to the Third and Fourth Doctors from 1973 to 1976 (18 stories during seasons 11 - 14) and returned in several TV episodes with the Tenth Doctor, and once with the Eleventh Doctor. These audio CD stories cover the time just before journalist Sarah Jane Smith re-surfaces at 13 Bannerman Road, Ealing in the cBBC TV series The Sarah Jane Adventures.
Ideally you should listen to series one, starting with 'Comeback', before embarking on this series two (although season 1 and season 2's story-lines are independent of each other, companion Josh is introduced in series 1). These two audio CD series are fully in keeping with Sarah Jane's character in the TV serials (she is an investigative journalist with a particular interest in researching extra-terrestrial aliens, their technology and their threat to Earth). All the characters in this set of audio CDs are adults (e.g. Sarah's sidekick Josh), and they are aimed more at an older teenager/young adults+ audience than the cBBC Sarah Jane Adventures TV series and their audio CDs The Sarah Jane Adventures Collection.
This first audio CD in the second season, 'Buried Secrets' (Sarah Jane Smith)' was released in November 2005, and in this episode Sarah Jane goes on a trip to Florence in Italy to help an old friend which leads to her unearthing a murderous conspiracy buried deep within the city's catacombs. Series two stars Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James, and like series one, each episode is essentially a stage play rather than a straight reading from an novel. The cast in series two are: Elisabeth Sladen (Sarah Jane Smith), Jeremy James (Josh), Sadie Miller (Natalie Redfern), Tom Chadbon (Will), Ivor Danvers (Professor Edmons), Daniel Barzotti (Luca), Shaun Ley (Newsreader), with Jon Weinberg, Jacqueline Pearce, David Gooderson, Patricia Leventon and Stephen Greif. There is one CD per episode, and each runs for about on hour.
The audio CD episodes in this Big Finish series are:
1.1.Comeback (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released July 2002. Six months after the last part of her undercover investigative TV series for Planet 3 Broadcasting went out, Sarah Jane Smith is running scared. Living under false names, her true identity compromised, she has few friends and fewer clues as to her pursuers.
1.2. The Tao Connection (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released August 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James as Josh The body of an old man is found floating in the Thames, although the DNA of the corpse corresponds to an 18-year old friend of Josh and Ellie.
1.3. Test of Nerve (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released September 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith receives a mysterious gift with a cryptic message. The London Underground will suffer a horrific terrorist attack during rush hour unless Sarah can find and stop those responsible.
1.4. Ghost Town (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released October 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah and Josh set off for a well-deserved break in a remote Romanian village, hidden deep in the Carpathian Mountains. ' 1.5. Mirror, Signal, Manoeuvre (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released November 2002. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James A bio-warfare scandal from the 1940s takes Sarah to a remote island in the Indian Ocean.
2.1. Buried Secrets (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released November 2005. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James as Josh Sarah Jane Smith believes her days as a crusading investigator are behind her, safe from those who tried to destroy her. But others believe she has a destiny and they will stop at nothing to prevent her fulfilling it. This CD storyline has tie-ins with the fourth doctor (Tom Baker)'s prediction at the finale of 'The Masque of Mandragora' (14th TV season of Doctor Who, broadcast in September 1976).
2.2. Snow Blind (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released February 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith travels to Antarctica where her friend Will is part of a research team studying global warming.
2.3. Fatal Consequences (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released March 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith is attacked, stalked and shot at by the acolytes of a doomsday cult.
2.4. Dreamland (Sarah Jane Smith) - Released April 2006. Starring Elisabeth Sladen and Jeremy James Sarah Jane Smith is still dealing with the tragic consequences of recent events when she is offered the chance of a lifetime - a place on the world's first tourist flight into space.
Note that the audio CDs are two complete serials (1.1 to 1.5 and 2.1 to 2.4) and although each CD has a conclusion of sorts the story arc continues straight on to the next CD in the series. The only downside is that the CDs can be quite expensive to collect, although we bought a few of the audio CDs cheaply via Amazon resellers. Check Big Finish's website as well as at the moment they are offering the complete series 1 and 2 (all 9 CDs) for just £25 (under the 'add to basket' there's a 'Bundles' option that directs you to the special offer). I bought each series as a birthday and Christmas present for my 18 year Dr Who/Sarah Jane fan'atic daughter and they were well received.