Tom Baker has died and has been reincarnated as a giant Tom Cat.
With me so far?
If you are you have already listened to the first installment of Bafflegab Productions’ latest audio series Baker’s End, in which television actor Tom Baker tries to investigate the strange goings on and various conspiracies plaguing his home village Happenstance. In his quest Tom is aided by his former television co-star Suzy Goshawk (Katy Manning) and his rather dodgy housekeeper Mrs Frimbly.
The King of Cats was a bizarre and highly enjoyable introduction to the series and Gnobbleknoll Hall continues the madness and turns it up to 11.
If you have not listened to the The King of Cats then stop reading now. Gnobbleknoll Hall, for all of it’s strangeness will be incomprehensible to you if you have not caught up.
Gnobbleknoll Hall at it’s core is a straight up parody of Most Haunted and similar Supernatural reality shows. The story concerns a TV crew of the show “Manifest Yourself” headed up by the no nonsense Marcella Doody and the rather short tempered medium Brian Loughdick. The crew is here to film a psychic investigation at the mysterious Gnobbleknoll Hall. Tom is not happy about it and with Suzy and Mrs Frimbly in tow, he tries to stop the investigation from going down the tube.
Penned by Paul Magrs, author of various Doctor Who audios and creator of Iris Wildthyme and The Brenda and Effie Mysteries, Baker’s End continues to be a surreal delight.
The idea for the series was conceived between the writer and star and it’s quite clear Baker has had much input into the story as it continues to play up his natural eccentric sense of humour.
Like The King of Cats, Gnobbleknoll delights in bizarre goings on and deliciously silly word play. The whole cast sounds like it is having loads of fun and there are some terrific performances throughout.
Diane Morgan, famous for the brilliant Philomena Cunk on various Charlie Brooker shows is fantastic as Marcella. Morgan plays it totally straight and is a great contrast against Baker’s sending up of himself.
Susan Jameson delights in the shady goings on of Mrs Frimbly and her fangirling over Brian Loughdick is a joy to listen to.
I will not spoil Gnobbleknoll Hall for anyone wanting to get into the series, as there are surprises aplenty but you can tell a much larger plot is at work here.
It could be argued that Baker’s End is just an exercise for Paul Magrs to let Tom Baker off the chain and see what happens, but Magrs definitely has something up his sleeve and I look forward to seeing how this all plays out in future stories.
Publisher: Bafflegab Productions
Reviewer: Matt Davis @DecadentGent