October’s here, with spooks and scares in store at the end of the month with Halloween, but the chills are multiplying already with a scary new story.
A brand new audiobook based on scary Scottish seventies BBC TV drama, The Omega Factor, has been released.
The Omega Factor was a 1979 television series created by Scots Jack Gerson, starring James Hazeldine as Tom Crane and Louise Jameson as Dr Anne Reynolds. Set in Edinburgh, and made by BBC Scotland, it ran for 10 episodes, being branded by TV campaigner Mary Whitehouse as: ‘thoroughly evil’.
The Omega Factor was a forerunner for The X Files, looking at end of scientific knowledge – and beyond. This is the remit of Department Seven, a secret government unit established to explore the paranormal. But can such supernatural powers ever be controlled?
The new audiobook, Immaculate Possessions, is written by Natasha Gerson, from Glasgow, daughter of the original television series creator Jack, and is read by Louise Jameson, who has played Dr Anne Reynolds on both television and audio.
The Omega Factor was revived as an audio series in 2015 by Big Finish Productions, who produce adventures based on TV shows such as Doctor Who, Torchwood and Space: 1999.
Producer Xanna Eve Chown said: ‘Natasha has such a feel for the characters of Tom and Anne, it’s like she knows them personally – which in a way she did, when she was working on the show!
‘It’s so interesting to see Department 7 out and about in Paris, and there is a lovely dreamlike quality to the story – although it’s definitely a dream that’s tinged with nightmares in this case!’
Natasha, who appeared on the television series as the mysterious Morag, said: ‘I was so excited when Xanna got in touch – it came at exactly the right time. We had just gone into lockdown and like all of us, I was wondering what I would do during that time, as we didn’t know how long it was going to be.
‘It’s such an important part of my life. Recently, some friends put some other works of my dad’s onto DVD and remember them and have been watching them, but Omega was his favourite.
‘Xanna said, ‘You know these characters so well,’ and this time I could do anything I liked. It didn’t have to be anything to do with the audios – it was just to be any time during the period the characters worked for Department 7.’
The new audiobook is set not just in Scotland, but in France. When Tom Crane and Anne Reynolds are sent to help the mysterious Paris branch of Department Seven with their investigations, they have no idea how quickly they will get swept up in the unfolding horror. Something dark and rotten is lurking beneath the beauty of the Jardin des Plantes and two young girls are already dead…
Narrator Louise Jameson said: ‘I always love a return trip to The Omega Factor, and this story is no exception, beautifully crafted with twists and turns. If you enjoy anything that dabbles with the occult, if you are a fan of horror and suspense, if you have a vague knowledge of Edinburgh and Paris, then this is one for you.’
Natasha added: ‘I love Paris – I first went there to work for a week, 30 years ago, and I have friends in Paris. They are very interesting people, and one of them is in th ebook, thinly disguised. I’d actually written a short spooky before, which was set in Les Jardins des Plantes, which is very near my friend’s flat, and it was kind of unfinished, so when Xanna asked me to write the book, this story was actually th ebase for it, starting in Edinburgh, going to Paris, then back to Edinburgh again. It was really great fun.
‘Les Jardins des Plantes is a beautiful place, but there are sinister places within it. The character in the short story is slightly changed now, and the main characters are from the original series.
‘They are having a bit of a romance, they always have, it took ages to come to anything so it was kind of nice to follow up the romance in this, as well as having demons, ghosts and crime as well!
‘I found some new characters, who were my own, who arose from the story and from my dad’s original! It was all great fun and I’m desperately looking forward to hearing Lou read it, as she will be brilliant, as usual – especially as there’s a few French accents in there!’
The Omega Factor: Immaculate Possessions is now available as a digital download at £9.99, exclusively from the Big Finish website.