The Passenger is an audio dramatization of a short story written Nick Hewson. It was produced by the Wireless Theatre Company and recorded in binaural stereo as part of their short-lived 3D Horror-fi series.
All the action occurs in a car driving through the forest, late at night. Ted is in the driver’s seat and his wife is reminiscing about her sister, Caroline, who died in mysterious circumstances over a year ago. Caroline was a multimillionaire and Ted’s wife was the sole beneficiary in her will, but she has never touched a penny of the money. That may be about to change though, because Ted’s wife informs him she wants to buy a villa in France so they can begin living their lives the way Caroline would have wanted them to.
Seconds after she declares her intention Ted’s wife sees a body at the side of the road and orders him to stop the car. The man appears to be the victim of a hit and run, but he is still alive so the two travellers lift him onto the back seat of the car. Ted speeds towards the nearest hospital, but discovers their passenger was faking when he makes a sudden recover and brandishes a couple of knives at their necks.
This recording utilizes the voice talents of Paul McEwan, Jessica Dennis, and Andrew Ward, but apart from the dead Caroline, Ted is the only Character to be named and his entire input throughout the recording consists of nothing more than the occasional grunt. Jessica Dennis provides a believable performance though, as Ted’s more vocal better half, but the hit and run hoaxer steals the show and comes across as a very nasty and intimidating character who seems to have every intention of raping Ted’s wife and making him watch.
With a runtime of just 16 minutes, The Passenger is a rather short drama, but what it lacks in quantity it more than makes up for in quality. It grabs the attention right from the start and keeps it all the way to the shocking finale. The producers state the recording is not suitable for anyone under 16 years of age, but in all honesty most 16-year-olds will have encountered many worse horrors on the TV screen than are presented here; The Passenger is a powerful dramatization, but it is hardly an audio nasty.