A new audio musical drama, Children of the Circus, is reuniting the cast of the seventh Doctor story, The Greatest Show in the Galaxy for a unique special.
The limited edition CD set will be released on December 14th, 2023, exactly 35 years to the day that the first episode of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy was broadcast on BBC One.
Once upon a time, there was a circus.
A Psychic Circus, to be precise. A glorious haven for the misfits of the universe.
But then, as is so often the way, it was hijacked by a trio of malevolent Gods.
Things grew unpleasant.
Now, years later, the Gods are gone, but the scars of those who survived the Circus remain. After all, you can't change the past.
Unless you're the Children of the Circus... and you're willing to sing.
Based on the Season 25 story by Stephen Wyatt, Children of the Circus is a brand-new, original, musical play on audio from AUK Studios; written by Kenton Hall (with songs by Christopher Guard) and based on an idea by Barnaby Eaton-Jones.
The special features the return of Sylvester McCoy (the Seventh Doctor) and Sophie Aldred (who played the Doctor’s traveling companion, Ace). But not as you’d expect. McCoy plays the High Poet; all befuddled charm and with a whisper of duplicity and danger. Aldred gives two magnificently different characters in the form of Captain Gren (the gruff owner of a Time Ship) and AJ (a sentient piece of rust, who navigates the Time Ship).
McCoy himself sums it up
To return to the worlds of Stephen Wyatt's imagination, but as a wholly new character called the High Poet, means I get to be involved with the Psychic Circus rather than fighting against it! As a lover of the circus myself, juggling this new role was a joy (though I'm sad I didn't get to play the spoons).
What fun to be reunited with all the wonderful cast from 'The Greatest Show in the Galaxy' again, 35 years later, and I hope you'll all enjoy this time-sliding, sidestepping sequel from Barnaby Eaton-Jones and his bunch of clowns!
Joining the cast in a major role is 1980’s icon (singer/actress/songwriter), Toyah Willcox. It’s long been known she was a fan of Doctor Who, as she appeared in Kevin Jon Davies’ acclaimed documentary 30 Years in the TARDIS, but to get her to create a multi-voiced role as The Band of Infinite Harmony (and get her own solo song, which can heard in full after the end credits as a bonus extra track) was something she clearly relished…
At last, I get to play all four members of the band and still have the last say…. love it. Seriously it was wonderful to play THE BAND and equally wonderful to hear this rather fab story unfold, a rock and roll odyssey of comic proportions.
Ever since producer/director Barnaby Eaton-Jones saw the original broadcast of The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, he was fascinated by the world that Stephen Wyatt had created…
There was such a wild mix of horror, science fiction, music, and fantasy, that it blew my adolescent mind; with images and characters forever stuck in my head. I wanted to revisit some of the characters and introduce new ones. With the permission of Stephen Wyatt (who came up with the title for this new production), and the help of writer Kenton Hall and actor/musician Christopher Guard, we were able to create something rather unique in the audio medium
Kenton Hall himself says:
Like most swinging, modern people, I receive a daily deluge of emails that begin with the fateful words “would you be interested in…” As a result, I have developed a tendency to give them, at best, a brief, withering glare.
In this case, however, it read “would I be interested in playing in the sandbox of Stephen Wyatt’s marvellous ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’?”
Does the lesser spotted gumblejack smell faintly of cinnamon?
Spoiler: the answer to both questions is yes.
Songwriter, Christopher Guard, who played Bellboy in the original TV serial, added…
As with all the best things in life, I don't remember quite how or when it began. I think I'd sent some of my songs - recent and ancient - to Barnaby just as he was dreaming up a sequel to ‘The Greatest Show in the Galaxy’. It was more a shooting star than a light bulb moment. Irresistible synchronicity had struck, and ‘Children of the Circus’ was a THING!
It was just a question of time. Or timelessness.
Stephen Wyatt blessed us, Kenton Hall seized his cosmic pen, and the rest is mystery. Unravelled. With music.
How amazing to act and sing with so many of the original cast, to slip into Bellboy's loons once more, and to travel seamlessly beyond our wildest dreams.”
Starring Christopher Guard as Bellboy, Dee Sadler as Flowerchild and Ella, Sophie Aldred as Captain Gren and AJ, Toyah Willcox as The Band of Infinite Harmony, Ian Reddington as Delios and the Chief Clown, and Sylvester McCoy as the High Poet.
With Daisy Dunlop, Verity White, Kim Jones, Kenton Hall, Barnaby Eaton-Jones and Ian Kubiak.
Special guest appearances by Ricco Ross as The Ringmaster, Jessica Martin as Mags, Chris Jury as Deadbeat, Deborah Manship as Morgana, Gian Sammarco as Whizz Kid, Daniel Peacock as Nord, and Dean Hollingsworth as the Bus Conductor and Station Announcer.
Produced and directed by Barnaby Eaton-Jones, for AUK Studios.
A preview can be heard here
Limited Edition CD available to pre-order now: