The newest tale in The Scarifyers series, “The Magic Circle”, sees a new dynamic duo forming. Terry Molloy’s doddery writer/MI13 investigator Professor Dunning finds himself working with retiree Harry “Thumper” Crow, an old colleague of Lionheart’s played by David Warner.
For those of you unfamiliar with the series, it’s a bit like Jago and Litefoot meets Torchwood: two older gentlemen who have formed a strong friendship investigate the strange and unexplained that other enforcers can’t quite deal with.
This story finds clever Professor Dunning in search of his partner Lionheart, who has gone missing under suspicious circumstances-cue a very amusing introduction of Dunning to the adventure, in trouble and finding himself without a rescue plan or any backup. The tale leads us to newcomer David Warner and starts a fresh chapter for The Scarifyers.
Warner is by no means a Courtney replacement but is much more of a character in his own right. An aged action hero with witty banter, a good heart and a love for gardening as well. The new line up of Molloy and Warner works very well, the due seem to have a natural chemistry that is just as sweet but also very different from that of Courtney and Molloy.
The story itself is a creepy tale of demonic possession and 20 year old deceptions that not only entices the listener in but also leaves you wanting more. As with any regeneration story within Doctor Who where you’re slobbering to see the new Doctor in action, The Magic Circle draws you in twofold; there’s the mystery of what’s happened to Lionheart and then there’s the joy of listening to a fresh new regular who manages to change the whole dynamic of the established series.
By the end of Part One you’re not only heartbroken but desperate to find out what exactly is going on and the ending does not disappoint in the slightest. “The Magic Circle” boasts some of the best action scenarios played out within an audio world, every moment tense, enthralling and most importantly, engaging. The story wraps up several years’ worth of adventures and sets up many more to come.
Finally, and by no means least, let’s address the issue of the wonderful Nicholas Courtney not being with us anymore. Nick’s presence is thoroughly felt throughout this entire story, more than that: he is heartbreakingly missed. By the end of “The Magic Circle”, such a lovely tribute is paid to Courtney that even the most hardened UNIT veterans will have a tear in the eye or a lump in the throat. But it’s a fitting end, one that makes you glad that Courtney and indeed Lionheart were able to make these wonderful stories come to life.
This story is not only a wonderful and macabre tale suitable for the chilly winter evenings; it’s also a love letter to Nicholas Courtney and a fitting way to hit the reset button for The Scarifyers.
“The Magic Circle” is available now from www.cosmichobo.com/scarifyers.
Sadly this is the last time you will see mention of The Scarifyers here on Kasterborous. In future, you can find these adventures at our sister site, Cult Britannia.