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Cult science-fiction radio comedy Nebulous is back on the airwaves every Wednesday night from 11-11.30pm from 5th April through 10th May. Six weeks of bizarre goings on in KENT, an eco-trouble shooter organisation led by Professor Nebulous (Mark Gatiss), set in the year 2099.

Each episode is available for one week after broadcast on the BBC listen again service. Click here to tune in.

The cast of Nebulous. Image (c) BBC 2005The first series aired on BBC Radio 4 in 2005 to great acclaim, and is due out on CD this August. Graham Duff (who also appears as man of action Rory Lawson (think a pseudo-Mike Gambit from The New Avengers), wrote the series with much input from star Mark Gatiss. A weird kind of Quatermass spoof, with Nebulous in the role of chief scientist - albeit one in charge of a research department so poor that they have to take in laundry. Each week the team (which includes Little Britain's Paul Putner as Davros-like permanently depressed, and sometime traitor Harry, and Rosie Cavalero as the overly-enthusiastic and obsessed with her boss, Paula) find themselves pitted against the most perilous perils.

Following up from the brilliant guest-stars of series 1 (including David Warner and Graham Crowden), this time round we are blessed with support from Peter Davison, Steve Coogan and the lovely Kate O'Mara. We'll be talking to Graham Duff during the run, but in the meantime you can read our interviews from 2005 with Graham Duff and Mark Gatiss.

guest star: Peter Davison

Wednesday 5th April, 11pm, BBC Radio 4.

Post-apocalyptic England. 2099. The team at KENT are still recovering from their recent double-crossing by electronically-voiced, and wheelchair bound Harry. Only something seems amiss - Harry isn't his usual self, he's extraordinarily happy. But then, that's because he's bought himself a Debtford Wife. They don't complain - rather they are there to gratify man's every whim.

As if that wasn't odd enough, a number of scientists have recently died mysteriously - the only connection being that each had recently become intimately acquainted with a Debtford bride. Could there be some connection? Will Nebulous find it? And will Harry ever sigh again?

I've been itching to hear more Nebulous since the last episode of series 6 went off the air. The funniest thing I'd heard on the radio since Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, and in many ways superior. Its been a long wait, but it looks as if we won't be disappointed. Debtford Wives continues that strange blend of humour that is uniquely Nebulous. If anyone was put off by Duff's tv series Dr Terrible or Gatiss participation in Quatermass Experiment on BBC4 last year, then all is rectified here. Duff has continued to excel at an often subtle, and clever brand of humour. He knows his films, and part of the satifaction is in spotting the references to obscure films and television. On tv he has gained a formidable reputation with comedy series Ideal, but it is in radio that he is his own.

Debtford Wives also features a guest appearance from former Doctor Who Peter Davison - who brings a special flavour as the Doctor who has crafted these whim serving robot wives - let loose in Wifeassic Park. Having been deeply disappointed by Frank Oz' attempt to bring humour to and update the Stepford Wives, Graham shows us all where it should have gone, fusing the terror of Godzilla, Jurassic Park and The Stepford Wives. Brilliant stuff.



guest star: Steve Coogan

Wednesday 12th April, 11pm, BBC Radio 4.

A series of deaths amongst ministry officials... A scientist breeding a new race of giant bee/wasp hybrids... Another plot to take over mankind, and only KENT to thwart them.

Preview copies of episode 2 weren't available at time of broadcast, and we only got these in the last few days. The second episode in the series sees British comedian Steve Coogan adopt a fairly serious persona in amongst the mayhem. Its not the first time Coogan has worked with writer Graham Duff. Duff created the Coogan tv vehicle Dr Terrible's House of Horrible, and its Coogan's production company BabyCow who are behind Nebulous.

The episode takes its leaping off point from the old Amicus picture The Deadly Bees and plays on the fears of deadly insects. I laughed more than I probably should at Rory's bewilderment at the insect research facilities lack of spiders. "Its an arachnid!" And poor old Paula goes undercover this week too... though how long before she too worships at the hive....



guest star: David Warner

Wednesday 19th April, 11pm, BBC Radio 4.

2099. And the Transgalactic Peace Conference has been entrusted into the hands of Nebulous - the man who disintegrated the Isle of Wight. Things take a turn for the worse when Nebulous runs into arch-nemesis Dr Klench (David Warner), and their minds are swapped. Klench, being an evil Dr, has plans for the conference which will probably involve lots of explosives....

Book-ending the first series were guest appearances from the excellent David Warner as the evil Dr Klench - a foe on a par with Moriarty or Doctor Who's Master. Its therefore a delight to see him return (as we all knew he would) in complete megalomaniac form, ready not just to enact his revenge on Nebulous but on the world.

This week's show does a nice bit of that mad-scientist film staple, the old mind-switcharoo (co-incidentally also tried out in last Saturday's episode of Doctor Who - New Earth). Nebulous falls straight into Klench's arms and the usual tricks are played out. What will the Klench version say to Paula's amorous advances and offer of a full-body massage, will Harry notice his boss is in worse mood than ever, will Klench succeed in blowing up the Peace conference, and will anyone have time to de-fluff the Zanussi?




Wednesday 26th April, 11pm, BBC Radio 4.


© Robert J.E. Simpson
Thanks to Liz Hyder at BBC Radio 4 and Graham Duff.



Page posted Sunday 21 November 1999
reformatted and reposted 24 August 2006

page last updated:
30-Aug-2006 17:50:48

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