Tracks: Strata – The Tracks Prequel
BBC iPlayer : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09g0d05 as 6 x 15 minute episodes
Broadcast on BBC Radio 4 as 2 x 45 minute episodes on 7th and 8th December at 2.15pm GMT
Intriguing and fast paced story
Excellent sound production and voice acting
Keeps you guessing
Episodes are short
30 odd years before Tracks, something strange occurred in Snowdonia – Tracks: Strata is here to reveal all.
The conspiracy revealed in Tracks is stated to have its roots in this prequel set in the Welsh mountains.
Dr Helen Ash, the central character, heroine and tormented soul from Tracks, seeking to find the truth no matter the cost, makes a very early and brief appearance to set the scene for the re-telling of the story which is Tracks: Strata.
Rachel Turner, paleontologist, is at the center of the action. What starts out as day discovering fossils with her son, Joe, descends into despair and chaos as Joe disappears as a result of an apparent earthquake. Has the mountain swallowed the young lad?
A couple of locals help the distressed Rachel in her search for Joe and act as guides around the mountain and the local characters encountered. The inhabitants of this area of Snowdonia are not quite what Rachel would hope for but you sense that they may hold part of the answer.
The old woman living in isolation up in the mountains but suffering a condition that normally afflicts those some years younger, is the first element added into this mystery pot. The welsh mountains, mist, damp, darkness and being lost in the forest are thrown into the mix to provide a fantastic backdrop. By the end of episode 3 we can add in a group of people out in the dark of night who are up to no good, probably.
The story is evolving to the point where the disappearance of Joe is taking second place to the need to know what is going on in this area of Wales. This desire to know the reality of the situation, for both Rachel Turner and the listener, is present here as brilliantly as it was present in the first series. In this age of binge watching, only being able to binge on the first 3 installments of this story may not suit those with an impatient nature.
Those that can wait, and perhaps hold out for the Radio 4 broadcast on 7th and 8th December are in for a treat. Told over 2 x 45 minutes episodes it will be an early Christmas present for audio drama-mystery lovers.
The voice acting, sound effects and spatial setting of the audio is again excellent. The quality of the production adds to the great story and makes it a complete experience.
Fiona O’Shaughnessy plays Rachel
Robert Pugh plays Sam
Kai Owen plays Ifan
The 15 minute bite size episodes would initially seem to prevent this story reaching the same heights as the original.
In truth it probably does. A delight of Tracks was the character development throughout the story, the new people that drop into the life of Helen Ash as she follows the path to enlightenment. Tracks also had room for much more expansive locations and time to travel and relationships to develop. Tracks was superb.
Dr Helen Ash took us on a tour of the brain with the little introductions to each episode. Rachel Turner takes us on a journey through layers of rock and therefore time….makes your brain think.
Tracks: Strata has a smaller world in which to operate and a suitably smaller cast. Yet it retains the familiar elements of mystery, sci-fi, drama. Quick bonds are formed between the main players such that we have problem in wanting to join them on their journey around this small world and delving into its secrets.
Will they find Joe?
What is going on?
Why is this a prequel?
No answers yet – but I can’t wait to find out.
Where to find…
BBC iPlayer Radio : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09g0d05
BBC Podcast Link : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09g0d05/episodes/player
Available again from November 2017 to stream and download for 6 months or more as Series 2 is released.
Episode List and current Last Available Date :
S2.1 Ordovician – 03rd May 2018 02:30
S2.2 Archean – 03rd May 2018 03:00
S2.3 Devonian – 11th May 2018 00:09
iTunes Podcasts : Episode 1 Only : https://itunes.apple.com/gb/podcast/tracks-strata/id422037667?i=1000394648531&mt=2