REVIEW: The Scarifyers: I. The Nazad Conspiracy & II. The Devil of Dengue Marsh

sylgI’m experiencing Jago and Litefoot withdrawal, so I’ve moved on to Bafflegab’s Scarifyers, which (although it’s set about fifty years later) is in the same vein. Slightly barmy supernatural investigations with two older gentlemen–in this case, DI Lionheart, a blunt police inspector, and Professor Edward Dunning, a MR James-ian ghost story writer. It’s even still only a half-step from Doctor Who too, as DI Lionheart is voiced by Nicholas Courtney, the Brigadier.

The pair have an immediate, cantankerous connection, and the first episode dives quickly into the action. The Nazad Conspiracy is a pretty straightforward conspiracy story with a whole set of eccentric villains, complete with ghostly Rasputin and Russian spies. It’s great fun (although, in fairness, not particularly difficult to figure out), and has that jolly-hockysticks approach to supernatural horror that made me love Jago and Litefoot. It’s scene-stealer is Aleister Crowley (played by David Benson – more Doctor Who links, as he’s the voice of Panda in Iris Wildthyme) who comes off as an occult Dale Winton.

The Devil of Dengue Marsh turns up the notch, investigating strange occurrences in a backwater village which is somewhere between Whitby and Royston Vasey, and this time we’re riffing on The Wicker Man (it’s a Wicker Fish in this episode.) It’s funny, bombastic and entertaining, and this time round the plot pulls together even stronger without having to bother do the introductions. The opening scene contains my favourite joke in a long time, which, as it occurs within five or six lines, I have no problem spoilering:

B&B Landlady: Kippers?
Heavily-accented Russian villain: No thank you.
B&B Landlady: You not a big fish person?
Heavily-accented Russian villain: Big Fish Person? No! What do you know of the Big Fish People? Oh…

So far, it’s a great series. The production isn’t quite on the level of Big Finish, but the script, characters and performances are all excellent, and it’s just the kind of homely, eccentric monstrous runaround I’ve been looking out for. Jago and Litefoot, you’ve got competition. (God knows what I’ll do when both of these run out? Bryant and May perhaps?)

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