Sunday, 26 January 2014

That which is done, cannot be Undone

In the run up to Christmas I wrote a piece for the excellent Manchester magazines The Shrieking Violet on the theme of alternative versions of cities, specifically Manchester through the eyes of Jeff Noon in the Vurt books and London through the eyes of Neil Gaimon and (in more detail) Ben Moor.

This marked something of a departure for me, writing wise, as despite being a fan of Sci Fi and Fantasy narratives, I don't tend to write them or write about them. Mainly because I've always suspected I wouldn't be very good at it.

It took a while to suspend this fear when writing the magazine article, but I was determined to do so because I'd spent the summer months of 2013 being absolutely obsessed with and addicted to Ben Moor's Sci Fi comedy Undone, a process made even more difficult by the fact that innumerable friends and acquaintances had become obsessed with Breaking Bad around the same time.

Undone was a radio series that went out on BBC7 between late 2006 and early 2010. It's third series has been repeated on BBC7's replacement, 4Extra, and a repeat of series 1 is due to air next week. I hope series 2 and 3 will follow.

It's good to hear that the producers and schedulers at 4Extra haven't forgotten about Moor's classic series, which was after all the longest running commissioned series on BBC7. Tasters have been airing all last week on the station, reminding listeners not only that this was a show where both Sarah Solemani and Tim Key got to cut their teeth but also that the endearing Moor (who plays Tankerton Slopes in the series) was really onto something with his concept.

Undone begins with the arrival of 21 year old Edna Turner in London from Towcester. Edna is due to start a three month trial as a journalist at the London listings magazine Get Out! and, as with all newcomers, is finding her new home a bit odd. Things become odder when she meets the enigmatic Tankerton Slopes, who introduces her to Undone, a surreal parallel version of London where there literally are Faceless Bureaucrats, a Pet Tricks club where cute furry animals perform amusing stunts, seemingly of their own volition, and bizarre magazines and TV shows such as Get A Move On! (the magazine for impatient people) and Molotov Cocktail Party (a magazine show that reviews the days riots and disturbances around the world).

Undone works on a number of levels, it is Alice in Wonderland in some respects and a very funny satire on the London media world on another level. It features likable characters, imaginative and creative storylines, twists in the narratives and charm that is rare.  

Undone series 1, episode 1, goes out at 6:30pm on Monday and continues at the same time throughout the week on 4Extra.  

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