The Cambridge Geek

Time Bombs

Bomb disposal. That's a boring job, right? I'm sure there's no interest in a quick show about what might happen one day in the lives of three bomb disposal experts.

Oh wait, there is? Alright then, you'd better listen to this.

Like the recent 36 Questions, this is a short form piece, limited to only three episodes of twenty minutes each. It tells the events of a single evening, being tightly plotted to give a beginning, middle and end that flow through naturally without any slack in it.

It's New Year's Eve. Teller is the head of the team. He's three bombs away from the current record for most bombs disarmed in a year. He's a little tense about this.

Midland is his second. He's the guy who stands behind him, passing tools where needed and pointing out anything he might have missed. Midland is on probation, and has to get to the end of the evening in order to become a full member of the team. He's a little tense about this.

And Radio Bob is the guy who sits in the van, watching through their bodycams and acting as technical backup as requested. He's not yet managed to patent his personal coffee recipe. He's a little tense about this.

Joining them for the evening is a journalist, writing an article about how they stay cool, calm and collected in a stressful environment. Hopefully she won't be too disappointed.

It's obviously a comedy. The psychology required to keep sitting down in front of something that could turn you into a pink mist does not necessarily make for the most calm workplace. There's no small amount of interpersonal conflict in here, and it's pretty damn entertaining. There's a nice central disagreement between the old guard and the rookie, which is slightly predictable at points, but hangs together well.

There's a very nice conceit in this though, with the main storyline occasionally being interrupted with a reception bell that signals a step out of the narrative. These pauses give Teller space to chip in with his personal observations, which are always pleasingly comical. Feels very much like an improv moment. It's also used dramatically to get inside Teller's head when he needs laser-like focus to deal with a bomb. Probably my favourite scene.

Basically, it's fun, very clever, and has more information about how to blow up a car than I had originally expected. Someone's done their research. It's also got some excellent music choices, with a nice jazzy number running under most of it. Give it a go.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Comedy Cast Sitcom Workplace/Employment Serial