The Cambridge Geek

Curious Under The Stars

[UPDATE - 2nd September 2018]: Another series is up, this time about A Mermaid's Kiss.

This one's a much more Gareth-centric series, focusing on his fear of the sea, and his attempts to overcome it with scuba-diving, swimming and a bit of jumping off a high cliff.

To provide the spooky element in this series, we've got the return of a childhood friend/bullying victim, Guto, he of the webbed toes and possibly merman heritage. Mermaids also keep popping up in general, with a slight interest in having him join them down where it's better (and possibly wetter), under the sea. It's definitely growing on me as a series I listen to more of it.

The music is still excellent, setting the scene beautifully, and even though the stakes are relatively low, it manages to keep a fair bit of tension. Note: a bit of investigation (after someone asked) finds that the music is Knee-Deep in the North Sea by Portico Quartet (Download on Amazon UK or Amazon US).

[ORIGINAL - 10th May 2018]: Elis James is back once again in another comedy/drama series for BBC Radio (Wales) (can they not find that many Welsh voice actors?) which I've discovered only after missing three series, so have a review of the fourth. It's a 15 Minute Drama, but it's all out at this point, so you're best going for the omnibus.

It's set in the village of Glan Don on the Welsh Coast, centred around the local pub, the Druid's Rest, which is run by Gareth (Elis) and Diane (Emma Sidi). The pub is undergoing a bit of havoc currently, having had a coffee machine placed in it, and the beaned beast is causing disruption to everyone's quiet lives.

A second problem is encountered when Magda (Wanda Opalinksa), a previous resident of the village returns twenty years after she first left, and begins working in the pub. But she has brought something back with her, seeing shadows in the dark corners of the pub. It seems as though Anwen, Gareth and Diane's newborn baby can see the same thing, and so begins a fantastical tale, featuring the King under the hill, also known as the Green Man.

It's a magical realism piece, with a bit of ambiguity as to where Magda has been, and where she occasionally vanishes off to, as well as what she and Anwen are seeing. That connection is quite a nice trick, with the toddler-ish dialogue popping in to add a little tension.

The action is narrated by Ifan Dafydd, with a heavy, weighty tone, sinking into the depths of the story and bringing the slow horror of the ghostly presences to life.

Relatively quiet story, with a slightly uneasy balance between the comedic elements and the presumably intended horror, so it feels a bit light in moments that should perhaps have been more fierce. Still, the incidental music and various other sounds do help create the right atmosphere, and I certainly don't regret listening to it.


I've just discovered the sixth series of this, and realised just how hard they can be to find, so for future reference (for me, but maybe also for you), here are all of them.

Series 1
Series 2
Series 3: The Arrivals
Series 4: The King Under the Hill
Series 5: A Mermaid's Kiss
Series 6: Shincyn's Moon
Series 7: Devil's Bridge
Series 8: The Owl and the Ivy
Series 9: The Fruits of Gwyddno
Series 10: Things of Stone

Score 4

Tagged: Radio Drama Cast Fiction Magical Realism