From all the way back in March 2002 comes the first of Big Finish's 2000AD audio dramas. Wanted: Dredd or Alive by David Bishop, directed by Nicholas Briggs.
The Judges of Mega-City One are trying to deal with a deadly crime syndicate but Judge Dredd seems to be suffering the effects of something called Sleep Machine Psychosis and is going off the rails in a big way. Meanwhile a new batch of cadets are coming out of the Academy of Law and must face their final assessment on those mean streets as they try to earn their full Eagle badge.
As Big Finish brought 2000AD into their range of licensed audio dramas they needed a story that could introduce listeners to the world of Dredd. David Bishop uses the reasonably familiar device of a new character, British rookie Judge Amy Steel, who can guide us through the bizarre world of Mega-City One. She doesn't appear in the comics so she follows in the Big Finish tradition of introducing new companions and supporting characters for their Doctor Who adventures. Claire Buckfield plays her with gusto and a nice rebellious streak.
Meanwhile Toby Longworth gives us his first performance as Dredd and straight away he just fills the green boots as if he had been playing the part for many years already. If you are a 2000AD reader and listen to the Everything Comes Back to 2000AD podcast then you will recognise their opening clip of Dredd's voice which is taken from this audio adventure.
It's not a perfect story possibly because it has so much back story to get over. If you are familiar with the comic then you may find some of this boring, and it is pretty obvious what Dredd is up to as he appears to go rogue. But it's not a bad introductory piece, and it does feature brief appearances from Chief Judge Hershey and Max Normal. All this and it is available for free on the BBC site. 3 out of 5 Lawgivers.