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Regular readers of The Lid will know my fondness for audio drama in all it’s forms and TV drama in all its oddest forms. It’s a surprise then to admit this is my first exposure to legendarily odd short-run series Adam Adamant. However, this is by far the best possible introduction to the show.
Written by Guy Adams, it’s a whip-smart, fiercely clever and deeply kind modification of the original idea. Adam is an Edwardian adventurer, who finds himself in ’60s London. Confused and traumatized, he falls under the care of Georgina Jones, a doctor and private detective. Played with clenched teeth aplomb and Paul Darrow’ian elegance by Blake Ritson, Adam is a surprisingly convivial, and on occasion cheerfully violent man. He lived to protect the country in the past and does so again now. Just… on more of a level playing field than he ever thought…
These scripts are a perfect demonstration of why Guy Adams is one of the best authors not enough people know about. ‘What is This Place?’ sets the world up and takes full advantage of format to set an episode largely in Adam’s head. ‘Death Has A Thousand Faces’ is an Avengers-esque mystery that leads to a ghost train, the seaside and a charmingly horrifying murder. Finally ‘Georgina Jones Dies!’ brings everything down to a claustrophobic focus, as Adam struggles to prove himself innocent and Georgina alive.
That’s a real gut punch of an episode, a mid-series (volume 2 arrives later this year) finale that restates and rebuilds the show in a profoundly exciting way. It also cements Adams’ masterstroke; using Adam to address and comment on the changes in society at that time. Milly Thomas’ Georgina is every bit his equal but gay and deeply persecuted for it. Adams, pulling double duty here as two-fisted Punch and Judy man Sims, plays the charming actor as an unusually emotionally honest Alfred to Ritson’s Adam. None of them fit in the world. All of them want to make the world a better place anyway. Admiral Clancy would sympathize, as would Commander Reyes. But none of them make coffee like Sims…
This is open, touching writing and it gives Ritson some especially great stuff in the finale. His scenes with Adams crackle, as these two men who have similar reasons to be emotionally buttoned-down find wildly different ways to be anything but.
Oh and if you’re worried about ladymurder, keep listening. Trust me.
Adam Adamant Lives! is the sort of thing only Big Finish could do and they’ve done it incredibly well. If you like daring adventurers, capes optional, sense of justice and style mandatory, you’ll love this.
Adam Adamant Lives! Volume 1 is available now.