There's a new and quite wonderful supernatural drama series on BBC Radio 4. The Deacon Trilogy features veteran actor Don Warrington as a mysterious drifter who shows up when least expected to save a lost soul. Created and written by Edson Burton, a historian, poet, playwright, and performer, the series features an almost all-black cast and features myths and the supernatural crashing in on characters living in Bristol's inner city in often cataclysmic fashion. There's a pleasing vibe you get from the best Vertigo comics at their peak. Deacon isn't so much a variation on John Constantine as the Phantom Stranger, a figure of mystery who tries to save people as a form of atonement for his own past sins. Ex-boxers-turned-petty-criminals, teenagers in trouble, illegal immigrants in hiding who become targeted by forces from the netherworld, these are the people Deacon steps in to save.
Warrington, who has appeared on Doctor Who, played King Lear on the British stage, played the Marquis de Carabas in the BBC Radio adaptation of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, and currently stars as Commander Selwyn Patterson in Death in Paradise on BBC One, plays the mysterious drifter Deacon with an air of world-weary wit and sly manipulative streak.
The three episodes of the first series can now be streamed on the BBC website for the next few weeks.
"Deacon": Mack has an illicit delivery to make and the clock is ticking. But his mission begins to unravel when he runs into Deacon, a fierce and enigmatic old drifter. Starring Don Warrington and Ashley Thomas.
Mack is offered a 'job' by his former boxing trainer Jimmy. It seems easy – all he has to do is deliver a car to an address outside Swindon by midnight. But when Mack asks what he's delivering, Jimmy tells him the less he knows the better. 'Oh and don't look in the boot.'
Then Mack hits an old man with the car and he's forced to take him to hospital. But who exactly is the old man crumpled on Mack's back seat? He says his name is Deacon; he looks like a tramp but speaks with words wise beyond this world. And he might just be about to change Mack's life, forever.
"Deacon: Moonlight on Water": The enigmatic drifter returns to help a lost soul. Young Jas is in love and in danger, but who from? 16-year-old Jas is planning to run away with her one true love. They are sworn to secrecy. Her ex, Zain, has found out and pursues her through the dangerous night-world of Eastville Park. Enter Deacon, the centuries-old drifter who has a habit of crashing into people's lives. But there are other powerful spirits abroad in Eastville tonight, looking for pleasure, and all is not what it seems.
"Deacon: Gabriel's Feast": The enigmatic drifter returns. Deacon is called back to our world to help a lost soul, but despite his years and wisdom, he is struggling to read the signs. Grace fled her war-torn homeland and has taken refuge in a strange community on the fringes of Bristol. But what is it that drives their leader, Gabriel? What are they preparing for? Can Grace overcome her paralyzing fear? Will Deacon realize what is happening in time? Or has he finally met his match?