Cadet Amy Steel hoped for a routine assessment, when she learnt she was to be assessed by one Judge Joe Dredd the rookie knew that it wasn’t going to be routine.

This is the first of Big Finish’s 2000AD audios and they have chosen the most recognisable character to head their series of audio ‘Progs’.
In this story of psychotic lawmen and crime syndicates there is still the thread of humour expected form 2000AD, the main injection of which comes from the News Casts from Enigma Smith, which seem to creep in a little too often although to an extent they help push the view of this world to listeners new to Mega City One.

The cast all give excellent performances, Toby Longworth is fantastic, giving a moody but not boring Judge Dredd, a character that could be lost in monotone misery.
Claire Buckfield gives the central performance of the piece as the Rookie Judge Steel. If her voice is recognisable it is because she played the (second) Daughter in ‘Two Point Four Children’ the BBC sitcom. It is such past associations that a listener has to an actress or actor that could mar even the most wonderful of productions, as a mental picture of an old character distorts the picture of what is going on in that production. Fortunately the listener is able to escape this due to the fact that she is extremely well suited to the part, I think that next time I see ‘Two Point Four Children’ on UK gold I will have problems not expecting Dredd to turn up. The character of Amy Steel gives the novice listener an insight into this new world. I hope, Amy Steel will not become like a lame Dr Who companion (“Doctor I have fallen to give a bad cliff-hanger”, or “What is going on, I don’t understand this”) existing merely for the narrative, ‘Wanted: Dead or Alive’ has escaped this thus far.

I expected episode breaks in the story, they are not there, this is a good move away from the Dr Who audios, Dr Who was built on cliff-hangers but Dredd works as a mini movie (a Movella?)

David Bishop, writer, has done a very good job that keeps new listeners interested at the same time as introducing this new world. I think there is enough in there for 2000AD readers. With this I believe a tricky task has been accomplished well and with style. I look forward to the next instalment. ]]>

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