Nick Briggs

Bill and I had started work, with Jim, on the whole Burnout idea, but I was very dubious about how the audience would receive something that wasn't Doctor Who. I thought it could only work in conjunction with Doctor Who releases. Bill was a bit fed up of Doctor Who and wanted to do other things.

Can you give a basic plot outline of Burnout?

Nope. But I can tell you it was set in a kind of Blade Runner world and it involved people having their brains plugged into computers. It was very William Gibson Cyberpunk stuff. There were these people called Cortex Generators. I don't know whether Jim nicked any of these ideas from Gibson or whether it was just a huge coincidence. Jim wrote the plot (scribbled on a bit of paper) and I wrote scripts for the first two episodes.

How much of Burnout was recorded, released?

I think Bill recorded the first episode while I was away in Exeter doing some theatre work. He got a good cast together (John Wadmore, Michael Wisher, Nabil Shaban... and other good AV regulars). Many years later, Bill did an edit of Burn-out, but it was a bit rough and, like his Scarecrow City edit, was only done as a sort of learning exercise, I think.

What aspects of the first episode where you unhappy with?

I wanted it to be dark and moody and for the central character (Ki'Gan, played by John Wadmore) to be mean, moody and uncommunicative. To my mind, Bill made it all sound very bright and cheerful and very Radio 4. John's character came across as a smug, wisecracking git. I hated it. I asked him why he'd played the part so badly. Why hadn't he made him moody and grumpy? He said he'd done that, but Bill seemed to have misunderstood it for John not trying very hard, so had kept at him to make the character more witty and cheerful. Since the part had been written as very hard and sneering, the brightening of it in performance terms made Ki'Gan just sound like a smart arse!

Bill Baggs

What was Burnout?

We were trying to do different things to spread our wings, and 'Burnout' was an attempt to do audio science fiction that wasn't Doctor Who. John Wadmore played the main character, Nabil Shaban and Michael Wisher were both in it. In my opinion it was very strong, and some of the ideas in it have been used since in other projects. Nick did a brilliant job in writing it, but I don't think Nick was impressed with the way I directed it. Which is one of the reasons why it never saw the light of day. I haven't got the recording anymore. Only one episode was recorded, it was meant to be a four episode thing, and Nick only wrote the first episode anyway. I think he was so disappointed with it.