In a sequel to his 1980 television tale, writer Andrew Smith has delivered the TARDIS back into the pocket universe of E-Space.
Returning to Alzarius, home of his tragic boy companion Adric, the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough promptly find themselves immersed in the unusual ecology of the planet when they encounter a mission descended from original Starliner crew which was trapped here in ‘Full Circle’.
Led by Decider Merrion, they have come to study the changes in the planet’s ecology during Mistfall – the once every fifty years event which turns the sub-tropical paradise into a living nightmare of violent Marshmen and killer spiders.
Delivering a well-plotted tale, the story digs further into the culture of the Marshmen and their connection to biology of the planet. Far from painting them as monsters it lifts the lid on their motivations, granting them a voice rapidly evolved through their unique abilities.
Despite prior reservations, we loved the reason for the return to E-Space which grew poignantly from conversations at the start of Adric’s final tale.
The main cast are well served, split into two parties and worked into competing parts of the narrative; the Doctor and Tegan meet the Starliner crew while Nyssa and Turlough encounter some self-styled ‘Outlers’, on a mission of sabotage.
Guest star Jemma Redgrave (UNIT’s Kate Stewart with the Eleventh and Twelfth Doctors on TV) plays Merrion as a strong and thoughtful leader, not afraid of making big decisions and facing up to the consequences of her actions.
Drawing on its original ecological themes, ‘Mistfall’ provides a welcome return to Alzarius and a clever furthering of the original story. While familiarity with ‘Full Circle’ is not essential, it certainly sent us scurrying back to the DVD shelf for another viewing!
Extras: An eight minute suite which strongly evokes the original tale and fifteen minutes of interviews with cast and crew.
Released in January 2015 by Big Finish Productions Ltd.
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