Wednesday, September 17, 2014


Last month, The Collinsport Historical Society asked you to name your five favorite DARK SHADOWS audio dramas from Big Finish. Every day this week we'll be revealing the results.

#3 The Crimson Pearl

Released in August, 2011, “The Crimson Pearl” is one of the most ambitious episodes in Big Finish’s DARK SHADOWS line of audio dramas. Beginning in 1690 with the arrival of the very first Collinses in the New World, the story spans not only centuries, but multiple timelines, as well.

It also featured one of the largest casts ever featured in a single episode, with 19 credited actors appearing.

“Initially, we figured that, with some creative work with the director Darren (Gross), we could get all that year's cast to record a short letter or two in character, the end result building up to a bonus release,” said writer James Goss. “I've always loved epistolary novels, and the idea of the various generations of Colinsport encountering a shared mystery seemed a great one.”

Big Finish producer Joe Lidster said “The Crimson Pearl” was part of a production strategy to make the dramatic readings more dynamic than they’d been in the past.

Christopher Pennock, records his dialogue for "The Crimson Pearl."
“Up until then they had mostly been two-handers, usually featuring two actors who had appeared in the TV series,” Lidster said. “So we looked at bringing in other actors to play smaller roles and we just played around with how things were written and recorded.”

Goss said the concept proved to be more challenging than they’d imagined. The roster of characters became so large that outside actors were brought in to help fill out the cast.

Ursula Burton and Jerry Lacy.
“I had a reasonably simple idea,” Goss said. “Joe turned up with the entire history of Collinsport, and the simple idea became more and more complicated and epic and, in the end, there were quite a few extra recording sessions. But, on the other hand, you got Roy Thinnes (“Roger Collins” on the 1991 DARK SHADOWS “revival” series) playing the founding Collins! You got gypsies and the alternative universe and those cunning Leviathans.”

“James was clever with the budget and I went crazy on which characters we could use,” Lidtser said. “I think it works as a real celebration of Dark Shadows – it’s scary and sad in places, but it’s also fun. And Nigel Fairs’s reworking of the theme tune is just glorious.”

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