I grew up with Spring Heeled Jack, not literally of course being as the first claimed sighting of Spring-heeled Jack was in 1837, but to me he’s like an English Batman. Spring-heeled Jack was described by people who claimed to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy, clawed hands, and eyes that “resembled red balls of fire”. One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting garment like an oilskin. Many stories also mention a “Devil-like” aspect. Others said he was tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman. Several reports mention that he could breathe out blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips. Now that’s an Urban Legend! I always thought it would make an excellent movie.
Then came the Nineties and Spring Heel Jack was the name of an English electronic music duo. That Spring Heel Jack began their career exploring drum and bass and jungle, but then branched out into free improvisation and jazz. Frankly the name Spring Heeled Jack was soiled.
Thankfully The Springheel Saga, a three-part series written by Robert Valentine and Gareth Parker, has reclaimed the name. Theirs is an exciting romp through Victorian London, combining action, humour, and penny-dreadful horror. If you have not heard of the Wireless Theatre Company, then shame on you. Designed to nurture and encourage fresh new writers, up and coming acting talent and bring audio theatre to the ‘iPod generation, the Wireless Theatre Company have to be heard.
Witty, funny, and immensely enjoyable, this is a must not just for those with a thirst for 19th century intrigue, but for all fans of perfect scripts, excellent performances, and glorious sound design. These three episodes capture the setting and characters perfectly, cranking up the atmosphere and suspense. I really, really, really, really wish I could tell you how it ends…. but you’re going to have to find you for yourselves. Suffice to say it is extremely well done.
Have a listen: