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Kiss of Death
on 3 December 2015
This story is the 147th release in the Big Finish Main Range, and features the Fifth Doctor, travelling with the reunited team of Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa, who has returned following her departure in Terminus and a fifty year gap before meeting the Doctor again.
The crew are having an enforced break on the beach world of Vektris. While Tegan and Nyssa are enjoying the nice weather and good food, Turlough has been in a self-imposed exile in the Tardis. But the Doctor sends him off to join the ladies, while he works on repairing the Tardis. Unfortunately, somebody else has been waiting for Turlough to leave the Tardis, and it’s only a short while before Tegan, Nyssa and the Doctor find themselves having to attempt to rescue Turlough; and the Tardis isn’t available for them to travel in.
This had the potential to be a really great story. At last, before the tv story Planet of Fire, we get the chance to hear some of the backstory of Turlough, and to find out about his own background and family, as he is taken captive by those who are fully aware of him and his associations. While the Doctor, Tegan and Nyssa find their own way to try and save Turlough, Turlough must use all his skills to try and save himself, and along the way we find out more about him. So far, so good.
But the story itself, of why Turlough has been kidnapped, and what’s going on that requires his presence, was a little run of the mill. Bad guys figure large; and they’re a bit cardboard cut-out in their characterisations. Michael Maloney plays Rennol, who is masterminding a fiendish plot, but he never really seems very comfortable in his role. Lizzie Roper, who is great at all sorts of voices and characters, plays Hoss, a nasty piece of work, and John Banks plays Kanch, her sidekick, Cockney and brash and brutal. Lucy Adams plays Deela, someone from Turlough’s past, but I can’t say I really wholeheartedly brought in to her characterisation. And the Morass, who turn up part way through the story, are a great idea, but given their nature, it’s quite hard to understand what they’re saying, and you have to run each sentence back in your head after they’ve finished to try and make sense of it.
The story itself wasn’t bad; and on its own would make a narrative worth hearing. But it seemed a shame, even in the constraints of not letting the Doctor in on Turlough’s past (because of Planet of Fire), to not make more of Turlough in this rare opportunity. It was great to hear more of Mark Strickson as Turlough, and it was nice to hear the character development of Tegan, as she and Turlough find some common ground in this story, and grow to understand each other a little better.