Claybourne | 1998 | Andrew Dubber & Belinda Todd

I’m not sure what to make of this one. But I kept listening. And listening. The dishwasher has been broke, so I’ve been listening to this while I wash dishes by hand. I’d only downloaded the first 20 of 96 6-ish minute episodes and listened to them all in one go, so I’d say I’m hooked. Yet, I don’t exactly love it. Yet I kept listening.

Everything is fine. Better than fine. The design, acting, production – all very natural. Nearly perfect. A very model of how I wish all presentations sounded. The writing is solid, the story is… Well, again, not great or anything. But, oddly addictive. Among the several genres this could be categorized under, it’s a soap opera in its execution. Perhaps because of the time limitation – with only a very few minutes, they gotta keep you coming back. So, it’s got that potato chips thing going on – one doesn’t satisfy so you keep munching. Especially since there’s no clear stopping point. Chapters, seasons, whatever. The story just keeps going so I was in a “just one more” mode. Twenty episodes the first time I listened, thirty the next, thirty more next time.

Should anyone read this, it is important that I bring up the ending. It kinda has none. The story falls off a cliff after 96 episodes because the show was cancelled. That doesn’t bother me too much. I’m a fan of a several shows – audio and visual – that got cancelled before they could finish. Firefly, Freaks & Geeks, Carnivale, etc.. I still love what exists of them. But I know some people won’t bother if they can’t have full closure, so I’m mentioning it.

Anyway, bottom line – I just don’t love it, yet I can’t stop listening to it and I wish I had more. So, I’m giving it a B- but not keeping it.


Part thriller, part scifi, part soap opera, part comedy, Claybourne was perhaps the most sonically ambitious radio drama production ever to hit New Zealand’s airwaves. 

Produced by Andrew Dubber & Belinda Todd in 1998, it gained something of a cult following, won a radio award for best dramatic production, and later became the most popular spoken word programme on It was also the first podcast radio drama series online. 

Thompson is an American holidaying in New Zealand after his breakup nearly led to a breakdown. 

He receives a message from his employers, multinational communication giant Koestler Industries, that there’s a ‘problem’ at their satellite station up in the far north of the country, and that since he’s over there anyway, he should check it out. 

The problem is… ‘problem’ doesn’t even begin to describe it. 

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