Big Finish continue to resurrect classics of British science fiction and the supernatural with audio continuation of the classic series The Omega Factor.
Created by writer Jack Gershon 1979, The Omega Factor told the story of journalist Tom Crane, played by the late James Hazeldine, who discovers he has physic abilities. This brings him to the attention of Department 7, a secret Government operation based at Edinburgh University whose job it was to use science to investigate the human mind and the supernatural. Teaming up with Dr Anne Reynolds (Louise Jameson) the pair would encounter hypnosis, ESP, the occult, demonic possession and a plot to take over the world through mind control by a mysterious organisation called Omega.
Seen now by many as a forerunner to The X-Files, The Omega Favor lasted only for ten episodes after a furious campaign against it by Mary Whitehouse who called the show “Thoroughly evil.” This came at it strongest once the infamous episode Powers of Darkness aired which featured Satanism and a graphic scene of spontaneous human combustion.
Now just over 36 years after the show aired, Big Finish has resurrected The Omega Factor for a box set of four brand new stories.
This first series tells the story of Tom Crane’s son Adam Dean (John Dorney) who discovers he has inherited his late father’s physic gift. Discovering a message from his father in a stash of his papers, he travels to Edinburgh to meet Dr Anne Reynolds, once again played by Louise Jameson who is struggling to keep Department 7 from closure by the Ministry Of Defence.
It is not an easy task to explain the set up and introduce characters past and present whilst telling a scary story in its own right but writer Matt Fitton, does a rather excellent job. The first story From Beyond tells a very creepy story of a women trying to contact her late brother as an experiment for Department 7 . This develops into a rather dark tale which sets the tone for the rest of the series.
The second story The Old Gods by Phil Mulryne, utilizes the original television series blend of science and the supernatural. Adam and Anne investigate a mysterious hippy-like commune for sufferers of a strange condition which renders people allergic to the electromagnetic radiation of modern life. Overseeing this commune is Dr Jayne Wyatt (Camilla Power) whose apparent interest is the scientific study of this condition and self-appointed Druid Priest Edmund Fennick (Terry Molloy) who has a darker purpose for his followers. This is a very creepy story with an excellent performance by Terry Molloy.
Legion by Cavan Scott, delves into the realm of Demons and possession, as a morally bankrupt exorcist Wanda McCrum (Georgie Glen) leads Adam and Anne to a figure from Tom Crane’s past and a link to the mysterious Omega organisation. The story and sound design for this story is excellent and this is certainly one I would not recommend listening to alone in the dark.
The series concludes with the exceptional The Hollow Earth by director ken Bentley. Presented in real-time, this is the story of Adam and Anne’s investigation of homeless people going missing in a dilapidated church. The construction of this story, gives the action a tremendous sense of urgency and presents some of the most powerful and disturbing moments in the series.
With a terrifying conclusion and a great set up for a follow-up series, I cannot recommend The Omega Factor enough. There are moments in this series which are genuinely terrifying and I don’t think I could pay this series a higher compliment than that.
Title: The Omega Factor Series One
Publisher: Big Finish
Reviewer: Matt Davis @DecadentGent