Academic and adventurer Bernice Summerfield has always taken a dim view on grave robbers and thieves. It’s the kind of thing that makes life difficult when you’re friends with one of the galaxy’s most wanted criminals. A situation that gets even more complicated when that criminal’s other half is the father of your son. A mess of twisted relationships like that needs sorting. The ideal method would be group therapy and a nice long cup of tea. Unfortunately, a raid on an impregnable location governed by a sociopathic mastermind where one false move means death is all they’ve got time for.
This adventure is set at a cracking pace. It’s all a bit Ocean’s Eleven or Leverage: witty banter, impossibly risky plans, and of course, oh, yes, the security.
Behind the Scenes
Glory Days is a story in the Bernice Summerfield spin-off range and the character, created by Paul Cornell as a companion for the seventh Doctor, came from the Virgin range of original Doctor Who novels, The New Adventures. I’m not too familiar with the range or the characters within this universe. I only ever listened to Attack of the Grel audio story and I did a bit of music for Adolescence of Time. I’ve never read any off The New Adventures book series. I was more interested in the Target novelization of classic Doctor Who stories when I was a young lad. Even though I don’t know that much about the series I can still create a good production from a script and studio sessions.
As realism goes, a city of flying cars isn’t something I can go out and record sound for. The manipulation of plane sounds and some slight background noise of city traffic seemed to do the trick. It had to be the right sort of plane though. On some weekends a single motor plane aerial display team practise their fights close to Clumber Park. I recorded this from 5 miles away and from directly underneath on different days. The sound the propeller made when diving was awesome!
The bank vault door was a mixture of all sorts of different metallic sounds so that the listener gets a feel of how huge this thing is. Adding hissing, air and an alarm made it a real object rather than just a load of sounds mashed together. That wasn’t the case. It took hours to get each small effect in just the right place to make it work.
The women in Glory Days wear leather boots. I really didn’t want to go outside in heeled boots myself in case someone gets the wrong idea! I asked a friend of mine if she would mind walking down the road while I recorded her footsteps. Telling her she would be on a CD released worldwide was a good incentive.
If there is one thing I wanted to do in this job it is create the sound design for an air vent. This story gave me that chance. To get the sound of Benny climbing through the metal vent I opened my oven, took all the shelves off and with boots on my hands I started making the movements I would do if climbing the duct. Have I painted a pretty picture? Benny wasn’t the only thing in the duct. A maintenance robot is coming up the vent behind her armed with lasers and cutters. Still in the oven, I used a technique that was designed for the Eight Legs in Worldwide Web. I took a handful of metal skewers and made the sound of the robots spidery legs. Before finishing with the oven the story needed the vent covers and the ovens shelves were perfect for making the right sound.
While reading Glory Days I couldn’t help thinking of Mission: Impossible. I wanted that percussive style with a grand orchestral action feel. I’m particularly proud of a few cues in this story. The cue heard when Benny meets her friends is very emotional. A sad piece that helps give the listener a sense of how cruel things can be in this universe. The tension building music heard when the maintenance robot is about to cut Benny to shreds in the duct is slightly reminiscent of those pre-colour science fiction films I love. One piece of music I really wanted to compose is part of the diegetic sound. In the flashback scenes there is some classical pastoral music playing on an antique gramophone. Rather than choosing some royalty-free music to fill the scene I set to work composing this music myself and then I put some distortion onto it to make it sound ‘in the scene’ and not scoring the scene. Once our characters get into the vault things become a little strange. The music here is minimalistic. With the music here I wanted to back up the scene but not overpower it in any way. Messing with time can confuse and I didn’t want to distract from the dialogue, which is easy to do.