The Cambridge Geek


Time for another show from Definitely Human, the people who brought you the excellent Monster Hunters. This time it's Down, about a scientific research endeavour to one of the most inhospitable places on Earth. I'm sure that's always a good idea and nothing can possibly go wrong.

But it's not the icy wastes of Svalbard that are being explored, but instead the depths of "The Bottomless Pit", a crevice in the seabed that goes further into the Earth's crust than any previously discovered. For this, there will need to be a crack squad of scientists, explorers and maritime experts to pilot and crew the Virgil, a state of the art submarine.

It's a shame who they've ended up with really.

Marion Straker is the lead scientist, who has a great history of work, but a nervous present. Stephen Frame is a bit too keen to just touch everything. Sam Jansen could do with engineering himself some energy, and the parallels with The White Vault continue as they're joined by an Advantage company man, the pleasingly slimy Marcus Wilde. My favourite however is sea captain Charlie Dresden, who is so salty you could put him on your chips (and has a sneaky Wooden Overcoats reference).

Naturally, conflict happens. There's problems with what they find under the sea, but also the issues that always come up when you cram 5 people in a tiny submersible and forget to provide them with a waterproof HR department. It's all going to go a bit wrong.

It's a neat thriller, with a nice slow burn element, with short episodes and a long season that means the characters can be built with small moments of insight. I'm enjoying the gentle untwisting of their secrets, as well as wondering what's at the bottom. A fun listen.

Score 4

Tagged: Audio fiction Drama Cast Dramatised Science fiction Serial