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FELLFOUL

By Andrew Orton
Starring Aja Dodd

“The Grand Witengamot of Fellfoul invites Eleanor Wood to its weekly gathering at Jenner’s Field, by the grace of Edwin of the Chambers…”

Mulgrave Audio presents Little Hauntings – a series of short-form audio dramas for vinyl

and download.

VINYL ORDERS OF FELLFOUL INCLUDE PRINTED COMIC ARTWORK BY JOHN RIDGWAY

"Mulgrave Audio have carved out their own niche, delivering fascinating,spellbinding journeys into worlds a step to the side of our own. The future looks very bright, even if the light is filtered through a wonderfully strange filter." 

– Starburst

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"Strongly evokes Alan Garner's The Owl Service... A pitch-perfect conjuring of a specific era and mood... steeped in eerie nostalgia"

SFX

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How has Eleanor Wood never heard of Fellfoul? The 1983 film version was shot in the field outside her house, and devotees of the 1970s book series gather there every Sunday. Or so they claim, anyway. Eleanor has never noticed them before.


Strangely drawn to this obscure fictional world, Eleanor is lured from her depressing home life by the temptation of medieval swords and sorcery. But is her burgeoning fandom becoming all-consuming? And are the boundaries between fact and fantasy getting dangerously blurred? After all, there’s a Dwimmorim beneath her bedroom window. And Vermithorn the dragon is preparing his attack…

An original audio drama from Mulgrave Audio, available on vinyl and to download

Running Time: 13 minutes approx

"Marvellous"

SHINDIG

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WATCH THE TRAILER:

"Fellfoul – like Simon Perkins' Lurgy before it – has all the feel of a lost episode of Dramarama or Play for Today, a curiously British affair that is imbued with a sense of the bizarrely normal."

STARBURST

BEHIND THE SCENES

Following the release of their first long-form audio drama, Simon Perkins’ Lurgy, Mulgrave Audio founders Bob Fischer, Andrew Orton and Andrew T. Smith were keen to build on the experience with their next release – but also, perhaps, to head in a slightly different direction.

Branching out into other audio formats was a clear desire from the start. “We always knew we wanted to tell stories with different styles, of different lengths and in different formats,” says writer Andrew Orton, “because not all tales take the same time to tell. And we have big plans for future releases!”

Longer dramas in the style of Simon Perkins’ Lurgy are being prepared, but Fellfoul becomes the first of Mulgrave Audio’s Little Hauntings strand of shorter plays, clocking in at 13 minutes. The team likes to imagine that Little Hauntings is the small hamlet just around the corner from Mulgrave village.

Aja Dodd (Eleanor) shares a joke during the recording of 'Fellfoul', by Andrew Orton
Writer Andrew Orton discusses his script for 'Fellfoul' with actor Aja Dodd.

Fellfoul is being released as a download and on 10-inch vinyl – something new for the company. “There’s obviously an inherent nostalgia to vinyl releases and many planned Mulgrave stories toy with the past,” says co-producer Andrew T. Smith, “but the 10-inch format also happens to be the perfect practical choice for releases like Fellfoul. It can accommodate just the right running time, offers that beautiful organic sound, and – I think – also happens to look very nice on the shelf!” 

Aja Dodd (Eleanor) attempts to say "The Wyrdstone of Gylfanning" in the rehearsal room.

The idea for Fellfoul came from writer Andrew Orton’s late-night online explorations. “I wanted to write something that reflected those strange evenings you have on Wikipedia,” says Andrew. “Clicking from link to link, where you start reading about Michaela Strachan, somehow pass through pages on Edge of Darkness and the Second Law of Thermodynamics, then find yourself reading about some obscure cultural artefact you’ve never previously heard of. That’s when the idea of the story hit me, and it’s one I don’t think I’ve seen done anywhere before…”

Andrew took some time out during the recording to discuss the play:

With the script complete, a versatile actor was needed to play the introverted lead character Eleanor Wood, and a mutual contact suggested North-eastern performer Aja Dodd for the part. Aja was a member of the National Youth Theatre, and from the beginning it was clear she possessed a natural ability to get her teeth into some of the more out-there pieces of dialogue!

But surely that can’t have been too hard? Well, there was the Wyrdstone of Gylfanning, the Storms of Morthang and Prince Drobo the Wanderer to contend with. Fellfoul is about a sub-Tolkienesque fantasy book and film series, full of strange character names and places. Fortunately, during rehearsals, Aja was provided with a phonetic glossary of some of the more awkward phrases!

With casting in place, the team ventured down to Green Dragon Studios in Stockton-on-Tees to record the play. Afterwards, Aja sat down to discuss her Mulgrave Audio experience:

Bob Fischer tackled the play's sound design, creating backdrops that included a musty antiquarian bookshop, a stormy battlefield populated by dozens of extras – and some full-on fantasy sound effects. The sound of dragons, clashing swords and fruity-voiced thespians all needed to be evoked.

Composer Jim Jupp (Belbury Poly) relaxes in his garden.

“It was a dream job for me,” says Bob. “I’ve spent most of my life losing myself in fantasy fiction, and my head is constantly filled with the sounds of swords and sorcery anyway!”

 

The play was completed with the addition of music from Belbury Poly – aka Jim Jupp, co-founder of the acclaimed Ghost Box record label. Jim was given a very specific brief: “Imagine the BBC Radiophonic Workshop’s Paddy Kingsland had scored Robin of Sherwood in 1984!” With the aid of bassist Christopher Budd, Jim has created such a convincing evocation of a specific time and place that everyone at Mulgrave Audio suspects actual time travel was involved.

 

“You can’t believe this was recorded in 2023 and not 1983,” says Andrew Orton. “Jim must have worked with the same equipment used back in the day, because it’s like a lost masterpiece. I love it.”

The period feel is completed by a special treat for vinyl purchasers: a single page of an imaginary 1983 Fellfoul comic strip by veteran artist John Ridgway. John is a legend of the British comics world, having produced artwork for the likes of 2000AD and Doctor Who Magazine, and Mulgrave Audio were thrilled that he agreed to bring his unique and evocative style to the mystical world of Fellfoul

Closeup detail of John Ridgway's artwork for the 'Fellfoul' comic strip.
Closeup detail of John Ridgway's artwork for the 'Fellfoul' comic strip.
Closeup detail of John Ridgway's artwork for the 'Fellfoul' comic strip.

With the music mixed and a new art design created for the vinyl release, Fellfoul is now complete. Lots of people helped out along the way, and Mulgrave Audio would like to thank Kieran Davies, Jay Moussa-Mann, Angela Wheeler, Paul Burns and Tees Music Alliance.

And when you’re on Wikipedia late at night, or you find a strange book in a dusty second-hand shop: watch out for dragons…

Writer Andrew Orton and actor Aja Dodd in The Green Dragon Studios during production of 'Fellfoul'
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