Dark Season was Russell T. Davies' first television series, debuting in 1991 in the afternoon slot for kids on BBC One, a year before the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie premiered and six years before the Buffy TV series came along. It was a teen Science Fiction comedy thriller that contained many of the elements that would be found later in Buffy, and Davies' eventual revival of Doctor Who in 2005: knowing, snarky humour and social commentary contained in Science Fiction tropes. Dark Season and Davies' other genre series Century Falls at the time prove in retrospect that he got there first and was always ahead of the curve when it comes to genre television. Now Davies is bringing Dark Season back as an audio drama sequel from Big Finish with the original cast back, including Kate Winslet.
Dark Season had a total of six episodes on television about a Scooby Gang of three teenagers caught in a plot to enslave the human race, masterminded by bleach-haired villain, Mr Eldritch. The series starred Kate Winslet, in her first major professional acting role, as Reet, alongside Victoria Lambert as Marcie and Ben Chandler as Tom, who now reunite on audio for the first time in thirty-one years. Also returning from the original series are Brigit Forsyth as Jessica Maitland and Grant Parsons as the mysteriously sinister Mr Eldritch.
Dark Season: Return of a YA Cult Classic
Now the original cast members star with a new generation of teen heroes in Dark Season: Legacy Rising, four new full-cast audio adventures, due for release in May 2023.
Kate Winslet said: "I was delighted to be asked to come back! It's been genuinely moving and wonderful to revisit those early days of my career. What a way to start, with the now-legendary Russell T Davies! I really treasure those early moments when I learnt so much. Those invaluable early days starting out as a small fish in an enormous pond…. it was a pivotal time in my life.
"Now, the story goes on and there's a whole other generation of young people who will enjoy Dark Season. It's been absolutely lovely to be invited back and to be able to give my voice to the character again after so many years, is very special."
Russell T Davies added: "This has been one of the great joys of my life. The first show I ever wrote, back again, with brand-new adventures! And to get all the cast back together – Kate, Victoria, Brigit, Grant and Ben – is the greatest compliment of all. All of us united in very happy memories."
The new series will feature four stories by writers who have contributed to Doctor Who stories produced by Big Finish:
"Spring" by Tim Foley
"Summer" by Chris Chapman
"Autumn" by James Goss
"Winter" by Russell T Davies
"For as long as anyone can remember, there have been stories about Bishop Grave School. Terrible secrets were once buried within its foundations, screaming to be unleashed. Some children spoke of ghosts… others, strange noises… but nobody ever believed them.
Those who remember – and dare – still talk of the events from thirty years ago. They whisper about conspiracies and computers, fascists and scientists… and a mysterious man called Eldritch who wanted to bring about the end of the world.
Taylor Sullivan knows these stories better than anyone – their mother lived through them – but even that cannot prepare them for what's to come. As a new year brings fresh dangers, can Taylor and their friends discover the secrets of Bishop Grave's past… before that past discovers them?"
Voicing the new generation of sleuthing students are Bethany Antonia (Nolly, Stay Close, Get Even), Jacob Dudman (who has voiced impressions of various Doctors, including Matt Smith's and Peter Capaldi's on Big Finish's Doctor Who audiobooks), and newcomer Aitch Wylie as Taylor Sullivan.
Producer Scott Handcock said: "Dark Season burned itself into the memories of a whole generation of schoolchildren back in the 90s so it's been an utter joy to work with Russell on a new quartet of stories, catching up with the mysterious events at Bishop Grave School thirty years later.
"It's been a privilege to revisit that world and reunite the original cast. I don't think anyone could have expected Kate Winslet returning to the role of Reet for Big Finish, but to record scenes with her interacting with the rest of the original cast has been a real thrill.
"Plus, we have Aitch Wylie, Bethany Antonia and Jacob Dudman as three new teenagers ready to take on the world. We could have thrown anything at them – and we did – but watching them interact with members of the original cast was a special treat. A whole new Dark Season is about to descend and I can't wait for people to hear it!"
With the DVD of the TV series of Dark Season long out of print, Davies had authorized Big Finish to produce an audiobook of the original story on CD and download read by Victoria Lambert.