by windymillar on September 28, 2016
Item Reviewed


September 28, 2016
Available From

BBC iPlayer :

iTunes Podcast :

The good

A great story, full of twists, cliff hangers and believable characters.
Concoction of near future Sci-Fi, a good conspiracy and a strong interesting central character.

The bad

Some of the minor characters are interesting but don't develop into anything more than a bit part.

What we thought
What you thought
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All in all

This is the drama my ears have been waiting for. Will be sorry when it ends.

Total Score
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Tracks is new original drama running on BBC Radio 4 in 9 parts.

Our hero is thoroughly unlikable, has a horrible bedside manner for a G.P. and does not treat her friends or husband any better.

Yet, we are happy to follow Dr Helen Ash as this story unfolds and like her husband, love her despite her faults.

This is audio drama at its finest. Each episode twist and turns and leaves you dangling off a cliff – ready for more.

As each episode plays out we learn a little more about who Dr Helen Ash really is and how she came to be. This mystery conspiracy thriller starts out with a focus on who her estranged father is and whether or not he was in the plane crash which dramatically sets the scene in episode one. The trauma of the plane crash is intelligently described and sets out its stall that this is a drama that will not shirk from its duties to put us right in the midst of the events, the horror and the emotional roller coaster through all 9 episodes.

Is her father a good ‘un or a bad ‘un? That is a question that you will often apply to each of the various characters that inhabit the dangerous world that Helen stumbles into. With dogged determination she follows the clues to unearth secrets that may have been better left undiscovered, but she must find and understand.

Each character is well drawn and recognisable as they enter the story. Their role is well defined, even if their intent to help or hinder our hero is not immediately clear.

The main characters have defined boundaries which helps us to understand who they are. Despite Helen and old friend Freddie going off on this adventure together, all temptation to have them succumb to, well, temptation is avoided. Helen remains devoted to her husband despite Freddie’s half-hearted efforts. Helens relationship with her mother is explored and revealed in a way that makes sense in the latter half of the run – just one example of how this drama uses its time well and avoids introducing revelations that do not make sense given what has gone before.

Matthew Broughton crafted the story and Romola Garai ( see image below ) brought Dr Helen Ash to life.

It was first broadcast on 9th August 2016 with last episode on 5th October 2016. This included a wicked 2 week wait between the penultimate and last episode to bring the live listeners and podcast devotees enjoyed the conclusion simultaneously.

Available again on BBC iPlayer in November 2017 along with Series 2.

This original audio drama is what my ears have been waiting for and one I will look forward to returning to in the future. Can’t wait to see how it ends!

Production Notes

Matthew Broughton has much information on Tracks on his blog :

He also has an Tracks Q&A with a lot of spoilers, but it does answer some questions that may still remain after the series ends. It certainly helped me with the last few seconds of the drama. I also feel that I have to go and listen again!

Tracks Q&A :

Where to find…

BBC iPlayer Radio :
BBC Podcast Link :
BBC RSS Link :

Originally available to stream and download between 05th February 2017 and 02nd April 2017.

Available again from November 2017 to stream and download for 6 months or more as Series 2 is released.

Episode List :
1. The Nervus Vagus
2. The Broca and Wernicke Areas
3. The Pineal Gland
4. The Bridge of Varolius
5. Hippocampus
6. Nociceptors
7. The Nucleus Accumbens
8. Amygdala
9. Habenula

iTunes Podcasts :

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