Audio - The Secret of Springheel’d Jack: Series 3, Episode 2


Susan Omand enters The Tunnels of Death as she listens to the penultimate episode of the Springheel Saga from the Wireless Theatre Company...

At the end of the first episode of series 3 we left ex-Detective Jonah Smith in the clutches of the Countess de Sadesky, having refused to help her pick up the trail of Springheel’d Jack or Project Jabberwock as Jack is known by the British ministry, and about to be put to death by one of her henchmen. How can Smith escape from this cliff-hanger predicament? Well of course he DOES escape, otherwise there would be no new episode, the “how,” though, is a really clever twist and sets the scene for this brand new episode.

Having escaped the German Embassy Smith gets into a hansom cab where a secret is made known to him as the agent known as the Cheshire Cat reveals himself, having been undercover for the past six months rather than missing as previously presumed. They dodge the pursuit of the German agents with a suspense filled shoot out along the riverbank, worthy of a Bond movie chase, and then discuss why Jabberwock has come back after being away for so long. Cheshire Cat mentions something about the box being still active but Smith doesn’t understand this. The cab pulls into an alleyway at the Cat’s instructions and, after tidying up the odd “loose end,” much to the annoyance of Smith, The Cheshire Cat and Smith discuss Jabberwock further. The Cat tells Smith that the Kaiser’s agents are closing in on Jabberwock as they believe he has secrets that could be pivotal to winning wars.

Cheshire Cat reminds Smith that they are kindred spirits and that they must work together to get to Spring Heel'd Jack before the German agents do and the best way to do that is to sabotage a submarine...

Wow. Well, straight into the non-stop action again and I really enjoyed the lightness of touch with the writing in this episode by Gareth Parker & Robert Valentine. There were several very humour filled “throwaway” lines, like Smith’s response to being told they’re going to sabotage that submarine being “Fine.... what’s a submarine?” That’s another thing I really like about the way Wireless Theatre handle these Spring Heeled Jack episodes is that they’ve not tried to update the story in any way and it sits very well in its timeframe both in language and setting. Nor does the story seek to add anything major to the Springheeled Jack legend itself by getting bogged down in historical detail. Instead what the writers have done is ramp up the action and adventure making this very much an entertaining listen without getting bogged down in too much detail. I’ve said before that it reminds me of a Dick Barton radio story and that is still true. The voice acting it top notch, dodgy Prussian accents aside, and everyone is very believable in their characters, especially true of Andrew Shepherd as The Cheshire Cat. The sound design is also superb as it builds (and blows up) complex scenes in your mind without needing any other description, ideal for not interrupting the swift pace of the action.

There’s only one episode left and I’m really intrigued as to how they are going to tie this tale up once and for all, especially after an indepth conversation between Smith and the Cheshire Cat about their shared past. I know what I want to happen, how I would really like it to end, but whether it will, I’ll just have to wait and see.

Image - Wireless Theatre Company

Available to buy direct from The Wireless Theatre Company here.