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The Routemasters

Radio 4
1999 (four episodes)

Andrew McGibbon's sci-fi caper starring film actress Amanda Donohoe, who put in a cartoonish study in evil as Hildegard, a time-travelling vamp bent on kidnapping various objects and people from the Earth's history and installing them as exhibits in her Triennium Institute.  Unsurprisingly, the series had a rather familiar Whovian storyline: Karl Minns and Owen Evans -- the comedy double-act sometimes known as the Nimmo Twins -- featured as (respectively) the Conductor, a gruff, shadowy hero out to put a stop to Hildegard's meddling, and Bernie, a twentieth-century innocent cast into a world of mayhem after mistaking the Conductor's time-travel vehicle for an N44 night bus to Mitcham. 

McGibbon also appeared as Hildegard's snivelling sidekick, Raymond, a mysterious creature whose true nature was revealed as the series progressed and would take up far too much space to explain here; Andy Mulligan played Herr Grubberman, a blind zither-player from nineteenth-century Vienna caught up in the general confusion, who was likewise not all he seemed; and Sophie Aldred (a genuine Doctor Who companion) played Spikea, a twentieth-century-retro enthusiast from the future.  Other roles were filled by the Wildebeest team, Dan Freedman and Nick Romero (Romero also wrote the incidental music) and Alex Lowe, who played the voice of the bus's Interpolator.  Additional material for the series was supplied by Rob Colley and, for some reason, Radio 1 DJ Kevin Greening. 

© JB Sumner 2000.  Created 30/4/00