Journey to London Below in BBC Radio 4 Extra’s Neverwhere Audioplay
Originally a TV series in 1996, Neverwhere was later novelized by Neil Gaiman. It was already hands-down my favorite Neil Gaiman work, and the recently-re-released BBC audioplay is nothing short of magical.
Neverwhere tells the story of Richard Mayhew, who’s just your average bloke with a fiancée and full-time job. One day he happens upon an injured girl, named Door, on the streets of London and brings her back to his apartment for her to heal and recoup. However, Richard’s altruism completely erases his previous life, rendering him invisible to his friends, co-workers, and fiancée. In order to regain his previous life, he must journey through the mystical London Below, where landmarks are people and assassins stalk his every move.
Originally released in 2013, the Neverwhere audioplay features an all-star cast: James McAvoy (X-Men) as Richard Mayhew, Natalie Dormer (Game of Thrones) as Door, Anthony Head (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) as Mr. Croup, Benedict Cumberbatch (basically, everything) as Islington, and Sir Christopher Lee (Lord of the Rings, Count Dracula) as the Earl of Earl’s Court. It’s currently being replayed on BBC Radio 4 Extra, and available online for those of us across the pond. New re-releases debut all week, and will be available for listening until March 21.
Regardless of whether or not you’ve read Neverwhere, the audioplay is a must-listen. The effects, music, and acting transport you directly into London Below: if you close your eyes it might surprise you that you’re still in your flat when you open them again. Croup and Vandemar make your skin crawl, the Marquis de Carabas’ makes you laugh, and the entire experience leaves you wracked with fear for Door and Richard’s safety. Every scene is painted so vividly, and the characters played so colorfully that you really wonder if London Below truly exists.
Head over to BBC iPlayer Radio to listen. But beware, once you venture into the world of London Below, you might not make it back.