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Dark Shadows returns in February

Big Finish Productions are pleased to announce that the release of the next Dark Shadows short story collection has been brought forward to February, and there’s a trailer to listen to as well…

“We’ve had to move a few stories around due to recording delays,” says co-producer Joseph Lidster, “but this meant we realised we had a collection ready so why wait?”

Joining the previously announced  Last Orders At The Blue Whale and In A Broken Dreamare The Scarlet Bride and On The Line.

The Scarlet Bride sees the return to Dark Shadows of Andrew Collins as tortured vampire Barnabas Collins. Barnabas, played by Jonathan Frid in the television series and Johnny Depp in the recent Tim Burton film, was turned into a vampire by his spurned lover Angelique in 1795 and has spent the years since battling his curse.

“What I love about Barnabas,” says Lidster, “is that he’s genuinely a troubling and fascinating character. He’s often described as tortured because he doesn’t want to be a vampire but that doesn’t mean he sits around just brooding about his fate. He has adventures! He’ll do anything to protect his family and friends but he can also be incredibly selfish, sadistic and cruel. He’s genuinely fascinating.”

In 2006, Big Finish cast Andrew Collins as Barnabas in The House of Despair. Andrew, best known for his role as Jarrett Maxwell in The Bold and the Beautiful, has since appeared in a number of stories, and in 2015 reprised the role in the acclaimed The Curse of Shurafa.

“It was Andrew’s performance in Shurafa that made me determined to feature him in our short story collections,” continues Lidster. “As well as being a fantastic actor, he’s got such a compelling voice which is perfect for telling horror stories.”

The Scarlet Bride is written by Doctor Who Short Trips producer and writer Ian Atkins. The story sees Barnabas and his close friend Julia Hoffman caught up in the life of a young girl about to marry into a family that might not quite be what it seems…

“In my early teens, my best friend and I used to read all sorts of those ’10 True Ghost Stories’ Harper Collins paperbacks, and collected the Unexplained and watched Arthur C Clarke’s Mysterious World religiously,” says Atkins. “And I loved the idea that there was a world where all these things happened. Turns out it was right there in Collinsport, a place it’s been a joy to visit it as a writer, where I could take one of those highly dubious monster stories and turn it into something much darker and heartfelt.”

On The Line is written by Ian Farrington and sees the return of Nancy Barrett as Carolyn Stoddard. “I’d written for Echoes of the Past and it had been an amazing experience,” says Farrington. “I’d really enjoyed working with Joe and Davy, was very proud of the story, and thought David Selby did a fantastic job performing it. So when the opportunity arose to pitch again, I was thrilled. I’ve always loved Carolyn Stoddard – who doesn’t, frankly? – so wanted to do something about her time in Salem. And I had an idea about a phone call that I thought would give her a challenge, and put her through the wringer!”

“Carolyn is one of my favourite characters in Dark Shadows,” says Lidster. “She started off as a spoiled little rich girl but was then terrorised by all manner of supernatural creatures. She then got married and widowed and turned to the bottle before turning her life around in 2013’s The Flip Side. This story is set during her time at Salem University where, determined to take control of her life, she’s studying the supernatural! Ian has written a stunning script, it’s a two-hander with Nancy playing both Carolyn and… Carolyn. It’s clever but also very funny and sweet.”

Further details for the short story collections will be announced over the coming months, with all four (Dark Shadows – Phantom Memories, Dark Shadows – Dreams of Long Ago, Dark Shadows – Love Lives On and Dark Shadows – Shadows of the Night) available to be pre-ordered now for £12.99 on Download and £14.99 for a two-disc CD set which also unlocks digital access.

The most recent release – December’s Dark Shadows – Haunting Memories – is now out at the same price.

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