News that Amazon’s audiobook arm, Audible, is investing US$5m (£3.8m) to seek out writing talent for forthcoming new releases, is further evidence of a major revival in the medium. The story in 2016 was the way podcasting had led to an explosion of new drama serials – this year the focus is on how licensing and links to established media is enabling the creation of glossy, high-profile audio “movies”.
Starting in November, the US psychological thriller Homecoming was released as a podcast staring David Schwimmer, Oscar Isaacs and Catherine Keener. This was followed by the Bronzeville serial starring Larenz Tate and Lawrence Fishburn, which brought 1940s underworld Chicago to life.
Big Finish’s The Invisible Man starring john Hurt.Big Finish
Over in the UK a number of classics have been making headlines as richly imagined audio productions. The Invisible Man released in February starring John Hurt kicked off a series of high-quality HG Wells releases, for production company Big Finish and in April Wireless Theatre Company produced Black Beauty with Samuel West and Tamzin Outhwaite.
Meanwhile Doctor Who fans were thrilled to hear that the popular pairing of David Tennant and Billy Piper are back, opening the TARDIS door on a new run of audio adventures. Meanwhle, David Duchvony and Gillian Anderson will be reprising their roles, this July, in X-Files: Cold Cases on Audible.