Audio & Podcasts

First Action Bureau – 12 Days of Podmas

It was so popular last year that we decided to do it again! Join us this holiday season as we introduce you to twelve of our favourite podcasts in the 12 Days of Podmas.

“Earth, 2068. After decades of suffering and injustice, things are looking up for humanity.

But even when you’re living in a utopia, there are still criminals to be dealt with.  That’s where we come in: a global network of secret agents, working under the guidance of Zero One

Zero One controls everything, but nobody knows where he is, not even us. But still, we get to stop global and interplanetary crime before it even gets started. Hence the name: First Action Bureau.”

Stand by for action: the worlds of Gerry Anderson have been given a new lease of life for the 21st Century, beginning with a ‘Spy-fi’ drama podcast serial: First Action Bureau. Devised jointly by Gerry’s son, Jamie, and Nicholas Briggs (executive producer at Big Finish Productions, and perhaps best known as the voice of the Daleks in Doctor Who), episodes were put out weekly, starting from Thursday 1st October 2020.

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The audio drama is actually part of something far larger, the ‘Anderverse’ – Anderson Entertainment’s big plan to build a shared continuity between several different projects, which is equivalent to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Currently in the ‘Anderverse’ pipeline are Gerry Anderson’s Firestorm, a puppet show filmed in ‘Ultramarionation’; and Terrahawks, a reboot of Anderson’s 1980s TV series, set to focus upon the pop star Kate Kestrel.

First Action Bureau was recorded remotely and produced in lockdown, and has assembled an impressive cast, including actors Genevieve Gaunt (Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban), Nicola Wheeler (Last Tango In Halifax, Spooks), Paterson Joseph (Timeless, Peep Show), and Sacha Dhawan (who portrayed the Master during the latest series of Doctor Who). The initial run concluded on Thursday November 19th and consisted of 10 x 10-minute episodes.

The titular Bureau has been established in order to predict when and where crime is due to happen, and stop it before it has a chance to ever occur, by using decades of accumulated data and a global quantum A.I. The Bureau’s greatest agent is Nero Jones (Gaunt), who is troubled by headaches and bad dreams, which Bureau boffin Benjamin Saal (Dhawan) tries to convince her is a sign of something being seriously wrong in the organisation. But who can Nero trust?

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First Action Bureau is perhaps more adult in tone than you may expect from something with the Gerry Anderson name attached, both in terms of language, and also with the level of violence and sexual content; however, Anderson himself was behind the adult-oriented live action sci-fi series UFO and Space: 1999, and First Action Bureau is akin to both of those programmes, as well as delivering high octane action and drama with a contemporary sensibility.

Not many podcasts or audio dramas tend to have their own title sequence, so you could say that First Action Bureau is definitely something rather special. This first run certainly leaves you wanting more, so a second season will hopefully be along soon to continue the story.

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