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I found out about The Cleansed back in 2012, as creator Fred Greenhalgh was also the host of Radio Drama Revival, a podcast I was listening to religiously.

As a big fan of We're Alive I only needed to hear the words “post-apocalyptic audio drama” and I was all in. I certainly enjoyed the first two seasons, and was pleased to hear that the show had made a return for a third at the tail end of last year.

What's It About?

The word “apocalypse” throws up all sorts of possibilities, zombies, plagues, nuclear war, and alien invasion, to name a few. The story world of The Cleansed is a much more plausible breakdown of society though – the ‘oilpocalypse'.

In a world where we still burn finite resources of fossil fuel to keep the lights on some might argue that this is isn't so much a possibility as an inevitability. Fred Greenhalgh uses this premise to dismantle the world as we know it, and uses the setting of rural Maine to take us into the future – 15 years after the collapse – where we're dropped into the middle of a war.

Far South, in the ashes of Old New York, a force has arrived from across the ocean bearing military might and an iron fist. This new regime promises to subjugate what scraps of freedom are left in this fallen land. And in their wake, a more ominous shadow grows, as PAUL and SAUL claim their divinity – one as Christ reborn and the other of the anti-Christ – and set in motion the wheels of Armageddon.

What Kind of Fiction Podcast is it?

cleansed-color-1400x1400The Cleansed is undoubtedly a cinematic modern audio drama. It uses over 30 actors to bring the characters to life and has every bit as real a feel as any big budget movie. It is described on the show's feed as equal parts ‘Mad Max' and ‘The Stand'

What do I Like About it?

Unlike many studio recorded audio dramas, The Cleansed was recorded out on location in rural Maine. It was essentially treated like a film shoot, which really brings out strong performances from the cast, and gives a rich depth to the natural soundscape.

The original music score further enhances the overall sound design of the piece. It's a sweeping story with many layers, conflicts, and angles. The first two seasons paved the way for creator Fred Greenhalgh to produce Locke and Key for Audible, and although production values are high across the board in The Cleansed, it sounds like he's returned with an even bigger and better end product than before.

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Written by:

Matthew McLean

Matthew is an audio drama writer and producer who enjoys talking about podcasts. He makes the tea at The Podcast Host, and is a loyal servant of adopted house rabbits.

February 22nd 2016