Tony Jones and Ian McArdell review this month’s new Doctor Who plays from Big Finish…
Doctor Who Main Range #199 ‘Last of the Cybermen’
The second in the “locum Doctors” trilogy, which “translocates” a Big Finish Doctor back in time for an adventure with his early companions, this tale sees the Sixth paired with Jamie and Zoe.
Taking his inspiration from early Cybermen tales, writer Alan Barnes throws tombs, logicians and a Cyber-Planner into the mix as he seeks to bridge the gap from the 1960’s to ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’ and shed some light on the great Cyber-War.
With some larger than life characters and a clever script, coupled with some terrific period sound effects, there was far more going on than initially meets the eye and we were genuinely surprised where the story took us.
While Frazer Hines’ reliable Jamie is perhaps the quintessential Second Doctor companion, this story tale leans towards Wendy Padbury’s Zoe, tying cleverly to her backstory. Colin Baker’s Sixth Doctor is always entertaining, although the story goes no further towards resolving the central mystery of the Doctor swaps. We look forward to seeing that resolved next time.
The 4th Doctor Adventures 4.05 ‘Suburban Hell’
Alan Barnes’ second release of the month brings the Fourth Doctor and Leela to the domestic drama of a 1970’s dinner party, which is promptly surrounded by fog.
Having misplaced the TARDIS and K-9 due to some temporal ruckage, the time travellers are on the hunt for electronic components and are mistaken for guests.
Riffing on Abigail’s Party, there is ample opportunity for fun as Leela (Louise Jameson) struggles with both terminology and social graces. Katy Wix (Torchwood: Children of Earth, Not Going Out) plays the domineering hostess Belinda as a force of nature, with Raymond Coulthard providing ample support as her put upon husband Ralph. Also present in the cast is the ever versatile Annette Badland (Margaret Slitheen from ‘Boomtown’) who is fast becoming a Big Finish regular.
With its tightly confined setting, ‘Suburban Hell’ is a wonderfully quirky Doctor Who story tailored to fit Tom Baker’s incarnation perfectly.
Short Trips 5.05 ‘The King of the Dead’
This month’s short story is ‘King of the Dead’ by Ian Atkins. Read by Sarah Sutton (Nyssa) it is a fifth Doctor story with both Nyssa and Tegan as companions.
Set in 1980s London it tells of an interactive theatre (the eponymous King of the Dead) hiding in which is an alien presence. As the Doctor gets stuck into saving the day, Nyssa bonds with one of the cast whose life story reminds her of her own life.
A tale of loss and revenge, this is well written and, despite Sarah narrating, gives a lot of air time to Tegan and feels well balanced. The ending is credible and provides good insight into Nyssa’s character. Yet another solid release in this range of Short Trips.
This is Ian Atkins’s first Big Finish release; on the strength of this, it won’t be his last.
What was your favourite release this month? Let us know below…