With the release of our cracking Christmas caper, Curse of the Infernal Euphonia, we present a quick catch-up guide to the Honest Tommy omniverse, featuring the characters you'll encounter in our seasonal spectacular, and what exactly they've been up to while Yuletide has drawn near....
"I'm afraid he's rather worse than Santa."
— Princess Victoria
The hero of our festive tale, Captain Dashworth helms the Jolly Good as it blasts into adventure across the Fifteen Galaxies, fighting the foes of the British Empire and saving the miserable peons of the Realm and Star Territories. He's also a big fibbing fraud who got his commission after blowing up a planet and making a secret pact with the Princess Royal.
Once a lowly Tea Ambassador with the Mother's Brown company in London, Dashworth hoped to become a hero of space and fable by regaling England with his daring exploits in the pages of his Penny Amazings, a series of torrid chapbooks scribbled by his mucky writer-for-hire Quilton. Ensnaring a crew of rogues and vagabonds, Dashworth rescued Princess Victoria on Vorgak 3, and has seen off everything from genocidal Graven Monks to a sinister plot simmering beneath London itself. He even encountered a disembodied voice that briefly inhabited his Penny Amazings, and after a sensational adventure was able to install this Great Narrator into Victoria's secret library hidden under the Royal Observatory.
After all that, he thinks he's due a splash of port and a roaring fireside this Christmas, and hopes to find a willing Princess Royal to share them both.
"The Queen's speech is in jeopardy. I can't think of a more appropriate time for some derring-do."
As Princess Royal of the British Empire, one is expected to behave with a certain decorum. And while Victoria, daughter of the Empress Supreme and England's darling, knows royal protocol like the stock of her blazer pistol, she also knows exactly how to bypass stuffy officials and fawning Stewards to have a suitably merry Christmas.
Accompanied by her armoured Ladies-in-Waiting and an arsenal of very useful and highly destructive weaponry, Princess Victoria has embarked on untold missions across the Space Empire in the hopes of bringing peace and goodwill, and having herself a cracking time of it as well. She's seen off the Mage of Spiders and given killer robots the run-around, but now faces one of her most trying tests to date: a twelve-course dinner with her colossal extended family, who enjoy eating about as much as they do bending the ear of a Princess Royal with the patience of a saint.
Privately, Victoria hopes something dangerous and exciting will happen, preferably before Uncle Bunstard starts telling his war stories.
Commander Gwen Broadchest
"It's Christmas! I want at least one proper adventure before the year's out."
The reluctant commander of the Jolly Good and former skivvy with the grand Space Navy, Gwen has been at odds with Dashworth since first strong-arming her way aboard his rocket ship to escape the royal marines. Having longed for adventure while cooped up in the Navy's grimy freighters, Gwen now has to contend with Dashworth's bloated ego which, when set against her own equally inflated sense of superiority, leaves very little room on deck for anybody else.
The daughter of the great General Broadchest, hero of Corvanus, and heir to a British dynasty of broad-chested warlords, Gwen wants no part of her blood-soaked ancestry, and intends on striking her own blazing trail through the cosmos. Unfortunately, with Dashworth off on a jaunt on Earth, Gwen is stuck in the winter doldrums with Ensign Benson, whose idea of a jolly Christmas is really getting to grips with the mould on Deck Four.
"It's just so exciting sir! I get to clean up all of your messes! The Professor makes a right state of the table—that's how I know she's enjoying it, you see."
Captain Dashworth's loyal manservant and general dogsbody aboard the Jolly Good, Benson is at his happiest when scrubbing the decks or Dashworth's stubborn bunions. As a former native of Vorgak 3 volunteered up to the British Army before his family quickly packed up and shipped out of the quadrene, Benson can't believe his luck at getting to jet about the cosmos in the company of his hero.
And not only that, but he picked up a pair of odd socks while stocking up for Christmas in the bazaars on Sentum Central, so things are really coming up Benson this year.
"Season's greetings to you and yours. I've decided I'm going to kill you all."
The resident science officer aboard the Jolly Good and the ship's genius inventor, Runcible is Professor Emeritus of the Royal Academy and creator of a thousand contraptions and gizmos that have made Babbage and Brunel weep into their hats. On the downside, she's utterly deranged, and quite possibly psychotic several times over.
The very definition of a mad professor, Runcible has a brain that exists beyond the confines of this reality or any other, and bounces up and down the length of her own timeline like a cat with a ball of string—if that cat was capable of inventing an army of murderbots for the times when she really needs to dispose of whoever happens to be between her and a really cosmic idea.
The Cosmos at Christmas
"The rampaging berserkers can't all have gone home for Christmas, surely?"
— Gwen Broadchest
As the darkest nights draw in and the deep snows fall across the colonies and Crown dependencies of the British Empire, the cosmic Realm settles in for another Christmas among the stars.
While the peons of London put up strings of fairy lights and try not to mug quite as many alien tourists, beings across the Fifteen Galaxies celebrate their own, unique traditions. The streets of the Glim Blazar fairly glitter with festivities honouring the Winter Queen, and on the Tela de Arañó the Morris dancers add some extra jingle to their bells. Elsewhere, Bombooshi elders compete to consume as many of their young as possible in a tradition dating back... well, hardly very far at all considering the species' sadly truncated lifespan. Mythweavers on Gos fill the night skies with carols, and the Voloren gather to bring much-needed light to their nebula and a dozen worlds.
At this time of year, a space-farer's thoughts turn to home, and a grand murmuration begins as the spacecraft pootling through the cosmos drift for port to be with families, friends, and loved ones. Of course, this necessarily becomes a bit of a problem for space captains with loved ones in several ports, but the occasional deep-space mutiny only enlivens the festive spirit.
In London, as the royal family feasts, plans are afoot to broadcast a grand Queen's speech to the Realm, and the strangest of devices is wheeled into Buckingham Palace carrying not only the hopes of a princess, but the infernal inner workings of a Yuletide plot that could seed the stars with misery and all things antithetical to the spirit of Christmas and goodwill to all beings.
Don't miss Curse of the Infernal Euphonia, or else you might receive a visit from the Krampus, who definitely won't be leaving good tidings in your stocking....
Christmas is coming, and to celebrate the season the Honest Tommy website has updated its Infomarium with a stocking full of treats from the pages of Curse of the Infernal Euphonia. You can learn more about the festive folk and seasonal sights from our latest adventure on the following pages:
We also have updates on our main Characters entries, featuring "Adventures" sections that delve into our heroes' latest exploits, including insights from Curse of the Infernal Euphonia and Calls to Adventure. We'll have more updates to come....
Some words on the ideas and inspirations behind the stories in our book, Honest Tommy: Calls to Adventure.
Presenting Honest Tommy: The Radio Adventures, an audio anthology series featuring original, full-cast stories of wonder and amazement as Captain Dashworth and his vagabond crew venture across the Fifteen Galaxies in search of titillating thrills and sensational spectacle.
The series stars Tom Hutchings (Shields of Justice, Seasons of War) as Captain Dashworth, self-styled adventurer extraordinaire; Morwenna Towns (A Story for Happy, Alien Outbreak) as Commander Gwen Broadchest, a runaway from the Space Navy seeking escapism; Ben Gilbert (Dea, Jason and the Argonauts) as Ensign Benson, the put-upon and eternally chirpy dogsbody of the Jolly Good; Emily Carding (Richard III: A One-Woman Show, Ghost Stories) as Professor Runcible, maddened inventor of a thousand bizarre gizmos; and Lucy Townsend (Scareycrows, The Snug) as Princess Victoria, darling of the British Space Empire and rather handy with a high-powered blazer pistol.
You will also hear the dulcet tones of Aaron Turner, (Galavant, Real Person Fiction) Katie Beard (LeMoon Productions, Scatter), Richard Knox (Othello, The Duchess of Malfi), and additional voicework by Tom Menary (Seasons of War, The Liminal) and Michael "Whisky" Gartley (Wildcard Production Studios, Rewind: Life Is Strange). The episodes were recorded by Michael Gartley at the Big Red Studio at Hannahs at Seale-Hayne, with additional recording and mastering by Phil Baker (A Story for Happy, Killing Lionel). Original music was composed by Tom Menary.
Join the crew as they face the terrible Priest of Blood and the fearsome Graven Monks in Dawn of the Space Thumb; a case of malingering space blindness during In Space, No One Can Hear You See; and the discovery of a mystery at the heart of The Hollow Earth.
Honest Tommy: The Radio Adventures are coming to a cosmos near you this winter.
At our recent appearance at the English Riviera Film Festival in Torquay, the Honest Tommy crew showcased some of the props constructed by Tom Hutchings. These wonderful inventions and bizarre gizmos were intended for use in photoshoots with our cast, and as illustrative visual aids to sit alongside our audio stories in The Radio Adventures. Here, we'll be taking a closer look at some of these cosmic contraptions.
The ZAPPY ZAPPY FWIP FWIP
On the surface, this blazer pistol has much in common with standard sidearms carried by Royal Navy marines, and even the short-barrelled hold-out pistols favoured by pirates beyond the Fifteen Galaxies. However, Captain Dashworth has modified the inner workings of his signature shooter, and has given it not only a dashing splash of "Violet Waft", but has also bestowed it with a name that makes no bones about what you'll get if you stare down its bronze barrel.
The CROWN BREAKER
A custom blazer revolver owned by Princess Victoria, the VR-1 "Crown Breaker" was gifted to the daring royal as a housewarming present from her Ladies-in-Waiting when she took possession of her Moon fortress. A chunky weapon with a powerful, ironclad punch, the VR-1 (also known as the "Empire Breaker") is sometimes hard to conceal beneath a regal dress or ballroom gown, but Victoria rarely leaves the palace without it.
As the Royal Navy has an unfortunately high turnover rate for limbs and various bodily appendages, the cybonics workshops of Pillockwick Pistons & Gears churn out several models of robo-limbs to replace any lost, torn, or otherwise mangled while operating Britain's war machinery. Gwen Broadchest, formerly of the Royal Navy, owns a Rostrum-8 Mk3, boasting myoelectric fingertips and internal self-lubrication, although isn't entirely happy about it.
The INDIFFERENCE ENGINE
The engineer Charles Babbage picked up a thing or two while working with Professor Runcible at the Royal Academy of Scotland. One of those things was the professor's notebook, from which he picked up several more things. His famed difference engine was the result, based on an Indifference Engine Runcible came up with after a particularly big sneeze. Her design is an endless work-in-progress on a robot designed to do nothing much of anything, as part of her attempts to stick two fingers up at the laws of motion. The Mk1 is little more than a cybonic brain, usually found festering in a half-eaten can of beans on the professor's cluttered workbench.
While some killer robots guard the Realm and Star Territories, others have been co-opted by nefarious pirate groups and insane warlords who'd like to charge into battle astride a mechanical behemoth of belching steam and clanging claws. The Robo-Killer fielded by the Fifth Vorgak Horde during the Invasion of Vorgak 3 was powered by a raging furnace and armed with a shoulder-mounted blazer cannon lashed down with several loops of twine. This unit possibly nursed ideas above its station, if the admiral's cap perched jauntily on its head was anything to go by.
The JOLLY GOOD
It may have been the sleekest and sexiest rocket ship in the Fifteen Galaxies, but in the hands of Professor Runcible the Jolly Good looks more like a shanty town on wings—and indeed boasts a small hamlet of vagrants living quite happily next to the central chassis. The design came to Runcible while in the throes of cosmic transcendence and a large volume of chemical substances, and the ship's precise operations have been lost to the whirlpool of the professor's addled mind.
Today Honest Tommy landed at the English Riviera Film Festival with a showcase of props, art, videos, and audio for the good people of Torquay and visitors to the Riviera International Centre.
Having known and contributed with organiser John Tomkins for many years now, we were happy to join his growing community of filmmakers and creatives displaying their work at his third annual film festival.
We assembled our wares alongside our friends Simon Tytherleigh and Curiosity Cabinet Studios, displaying our humble collection of ray guns and robot arms against the backdrop of our Vlog Background, the construction of which has been chronicled in our In the Making video series. We also showed off concept artwork by Ian Massey, and collections of our behind-the-scenes video and original music from our upcoming Radio Adventures audio series.
We were joined by other members of the Honest Tommy crew, including Morwenna Towns (Commander Gwen) and Lucy Townsend (Princess Victoria), who had fun posing with their signature blazer guns, as well as Ben Gilbert (Ensign Benson) and sound engineer Phil Baker. Our table received a lot of attention and some lovely comments from admiring visitors, and over the coming months we'll be bringing you more photos, more props, and more cosmic adventures in audio... and beyond.
Today we were accompanied by the brilliant sounds of our first Radio Adventures recordings. Thanks to the wonderfully accommodating Hannah's at Seale-Hayne, and their Big Red Studio, we recorded the first of our specially-written audio adventures (as well as a little bit extra!), which will begin Honest Tommy: The Radio Adventures.
These original tales, written by Tom Hutchings and Tom Menary, and performed by a full cast, will immerse listeners into the adventures of Captain Dashworth and his crew as they battle deadly fanatics, an infernal voice, mysteries below the cobbles of London, and a scorching case of space blindness.
Listen to this space for more updates soon!
We've begun the search for artists, designers and all manner of creative types to help us bring the mad universe of Honest Tommy to life. Concept art, sketches, designs, posters and artwork will all go towards realising our stories, and it starts here.
If you think you can contribute, or you know someone who might, beam a communication across to our email, or get in touch via Facebook or Twitter.