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The Sandman - The Doctor and his technicolour dreamcoat
on 4 July 2012
This is the thirty seventh release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Colin Baker as Six and the reliable Maggie Stables as Evelyn Smythe. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes.
There is a fascinating idea behind this series, seemingly taken from the ideas in Tom Baker's `Face Of Evil' story. The Doctor has been wandering around the universe for a good few centuries, righting wrongs and generally sticking his oar in. This leaves him with some responsibility towards both those he has helped and those he has defeated. The Doctor takes Evelyn to see the Clutch, where he feels he is overdue a check up on the Galyari, a race of fearsome lizards who live in fear of the ultimate bogeyman - a curly fair haired humanoid with appalling dress sense, known to them as the Sandman. Great horrors are attributed to him, and to Evelyn's surprise the Doctor does nothing to deny it. Can he really be the monster he suddenly appears?
It's a great story, just bursting at the seams with great ideas. From the Clutch itself through to the premise and resolution, there is a lot of very well realised original ideas on offer. Colin Baker really gets into the role of Six, and gives a towering performance. This adventure calls for all the arrogance, compassion and frenetic energy that he can muster, and Baker really rises to the challenge. He interacts superbly with Maggie Stables' Evelyn in a tale that at times is morally complex, he nicely builds up expectations and then pulls the rug from under her. Maggie Stables does sterling work as the companion who's faith in the Doctor is being sorely tested. There is a guest appearance from Anneke Wills as one of the Galyari, who for reasons I won't go into has more reason than most to hate the Sandman. And Robert Bowerman does a nicely charming turn as the underhanded Mordecai.
Script, acting and production are all top notch. It's a thrilling ride, and worth 5 stars easily.