A New Beginning for the Benny Summerfield Adventures:
At Gallifrey 2000, Big Finish announced that they have secured the rights to the character of Benny Summerfield to publish new original novels featuring the character. Paul Cornell, who owns the rights to the character, advised on an anthology that kicks off the new publishing foray; all books and audios will now have the moniker "Professor Bernice Summerfield And..." before the name of each production. They will not be called New Adventures, however, as BF only has the rights to certain individual characters and not many of the other creations in the earlier Virgin book range. Says the new website: "And so, we now prepare to pick up the story of her life, and those around her, some time later- at the dawn of the twenty-seventh century in fact. Benny has now set up home on The Braxiatel Collection, a small planetoid that her old chum and fellow academic Irving Braxiatel has created to house what is, probably, the biggest and best collection of... well things that people with money collect, in the galaxy. Scholars, researchers and interested parties the cosmos over flock to The Braxiatel Collection to see the art, literature, history and science on display there. Or they will, when Irving gets around to actually finishing it." Meanwhile, a new series of Benny audio plays will be issued bi-monthly, alternating with the novels. These new stories will not be adaptations from Virgin Books. Paul Cornell may be editing a second anthology in 2001, with an open submissions policy.
The new website for the releases is located at www.bernicesummerfield.com.
The release list is as follows (note: all blurbs have been moved to the Forthcoming Releases page...)
- Dragons' Wrath: Written by Justin Richards, directed by Ed Salt. Finally scheduled for September 2000; the original cover design will be changed to mesh with the new design for the relaunched audios "Dragons' Wrath" has been plagued by post-production difficulties with the studio. Says Big Finish: "This play, the last of the Benny Summerfield New adventures audio adaptations of Virgin novels (next year we begin wholly originsal udio exploits of Benny) was recorded last November and Big Finish received the dilogue/sound effects DAT masters during late March. Dissatisfied with the quality of the prouction, we decided to start again. This week (April 25th) have we got back the original recordings, made last November, and so shortly post-production will begin anew. As yet, we aren't in a position to offer a new release date but it will be as soon as humanly possible. BFP apologises to everyone who is looking forward to the play, especially those who pre-ordered, but we felt that it was better to delay Dragons' Wrath by a couple of months than put out a sub-standard play that did neither Justin Richards' story, Jac Rayner's script or Benny's fans any service."
- Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Dead Men Diaries: Anthology, edited by Paul Cornell. Release date: September 2000. The stories include "A Question of Identity" by Caroline Symcox; "Steal from the World" by Kate Orman; "The Light that Never Dies" by Eddie Robson; "Heart of Glass" by Daniel O'Mahony; "The Monster and the Archaeologists" by Kathryn Sullivan; "Step Back in Time" by Matt Jones; "Christmas Spirit" by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright; "The Door Into Bedlam" by Dave Stone; "The Least Important Man" by Steven Moffat; and "Digging Up the Past" by Mark Michalowski, with Cornell linking the stories together with a narrative as Benny. "She's forced to do an autobiography," Cornell recently told SFX Magazine, "so she gets other people to do it for her. The cover's going to be in the style of those Indiana Jones books. I'm just incredibly pleased with it."
- The Doomsday Manuscript by Justin Richards (Novel): Release scheduled for November 2000.
- The Secret of Cassandra by David Bailey (Audio): Directed by Gary Russell. Release scheduled for December 2000. Featuring Lisa Bowerman as Bernice Summerfield, with Lennox Greaves, Sally Faulkner, Helen Goldwyn and Robert Curbishley.
- The Gods of the Underworld by Stephen Cole (Novel): Release scheduled for January 2001.
- The Extinction Event by Lance Parkin (Audio): Release scheduled for March 2001.
- The Squire's Crystal by Jacqueline Rayner (Novel): Release scheduled for April 2001.
- The Stone's Lament by Mike Tucker (Audio): Directed by Ed Salt; stars Lisa Bowerman with Harry Myers and James Lailey. Release scheduled for June 2001.
- The Infernal Nexus by Dave Stone (Novel): Release scheduled for July 2001.
- The Skymines of Karthos by David Bailey (Audio): Release scheduled for September 2001.
A Benny Video? Big Finish confirmed at Panopticon 2000 that next year may see a video featuring the character of Benny Summerfield, produced by Big Finish.