AskDefine | Define nebulous

Dictionary Definition

nebulous adj
1 lacking definite form or limits; "gropes among cloudy issues toward a feeble conclusion"- H.T.Moore; "nebulous distinction between pride and conceit" [syn: cloudy, nebulose]
2 lacking definition or definite content; "nebulous reasons"; "unfixed as were her general notions of what men ought to be"- Jane Austen [syn: unfixed]

User Contributed Dictionary



  • /ˈnɛbjʊləs/


  1. In the form of a cloud or haze; hazy.
  2. Vague or ill-defined.
  3. Relating to a nebula or nebulae.


Extensive Definition

Nebulous is a post apocalyptic science fiction comedy radio show written by Graham Duff and produced by Ted Dowd from Baby Cow Productions; it is directed by Nicholas Briggs. The series premiered in the United Kingdom on BBC Radio 4. The show focuses on the adventures of the eponymous Professor Nebulous, leader of the eco-troubleshooting team of K.E.N.T. (the Key Environmental Non-Judgmental Taskforce) as they combat various catastrophes and try to set the world back on the right path following a worldwide disaster known as "The Withering". As well as being a parody of a number of famous science fiction programmes, including Doctor Who, Quatermass and Doomwatch, Nebulous is considered a cult radio programme, attracting a number of guest appearances from famous actors. The first series was released on compact disc on February 5 2007 by BBC Audio.



The development of the series began with the production pilot episode, which was written by Graham Duff produced by Baby Cow Productions in March 2003. The episode, which eventually became "Night of the Vegetarians", featured much of the final cast, but with a number of changes: Rory was played by a different actor and Sir Ronald Rolands was voiced by Duff, while Gemini originally had two voices: a female voice played by Julia Dalkin, and a male voice by Nicholas Briggs. Nicholas Briggs had originally created a very deep, realistic soundscape, similar to those he had created for the Big Finish Productions Doctor Who audioplays, but was advised that "it's likely the listener will have distractions and will not listen to it more than once; therefore, the soundscape must be totally accessible from any point in the episode", toning down the sound effects to match the series' comic nature.


Nebulous is recorded in stereo at the Moat Studios in London, the Earth has been reduced to a wasteland separated between "Withered Zones" and the remaining inhabitable areas. The Withering shifted the Earth into a new orbit, resulting in disruption to the seasons and a reformed calendar. Every day of the week is now 25-hours long except for Thursday (Which, due to time anomalies, has not occured in over a decade)., while the change in the length of the year led to the creation of new months such as Janril, Febtober, and Marchuary. In addition, the dreary season of Hamble was created, which is permanently dark, cold and drizzly. The Withering resulted in vegetarians, pigeons and gays becoming endangered species,
The Earth's geography is also radically altered. A new mountain range was formed in Britain by a day-long ice age, and the Earth now has twelve and a half continents. Many locations have been displaced and reduced to islands, including Oxford University The solar system is equally altered: Jupiter has been deep fried by Harry Ramsden's, Mercury and Neptune have been knocked together, and there was an initiative to destroy the Moon, which according to the show was deleterious to the nightlight industry.
Religion also exists in the Nebulous universe. Pieced together following the Withering, theologians conclude that there were four true deities: the evil twins Yin and Yang, Feng Shui the destroyer, and merciful Bod, based on the children's television programme Bod; the theme tune of which has become a hymn, sung in Gregorian chant. There is at least one other eco-troubleshooting team based in England, but despite their common goals they have a less-than-hospitable view of each other. L.O.U.G.H.B.O.R.O.U.G.H. (the Legitimate Organisation Undertaking General Humanitarian Business Operations Requiring Optimum Unconditional Global Harmony, named after the Leicestershire town Loughborough) is run by Professor Nebulous’ ex-love interest, Doctor Erica Flazenby. By comparison to K.E.N.T. it is over-funded and well-equipped, with bazers, black helicopters and info pills, which provide the user with information by ingestion. The second episode of series one, "The Lovely Invasion", is a direct spoof of the Doctor Who episode "The Claws of Axos", while the "The Deptford Wives" takes both its name and premise from The Stepford Wives (and also borrows from Jurassic Park). From the first episode of series 3 onwards, this also began to include the recent Doctor Who spin-off Torchwood and the ITV series Primeval, with references to "baby dinosaurs falling through a hole in time" and "the sheer amount of paranormal activity in the Cardiff area alone ... starting to threaten the Earth's plausibility shield".


Following positive reviews and high listening figures, the second series was able to attract a number of guest appearances from well known actors, including Peter Davison, Steve Coogan, and Kate O'Mara. The third series will feature appearances from Julia Davis and David Tennant.


Reception to Nebulous was generally positive: a reviewer from The Times described the first series as "a winning blend of Doomwatch, Quatermass and British silliness that has cult written all over it", A reviewer for Doctor Who website UnitNews also initially expressed concerns about the level of jokes in the show, but later claimed "I should have been more patient because when they did arrive, coinciding with the introduction of the character Harry, they were relentlessly funny".


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