Omega (Doctor Who) Audio CD – Audiobook, 1 Aug 2003
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"He's not the only one journeying towards it. 'Jolly Chronolidays' prides itself on giving its tourists an experience of galactic history that is far better than mere time travel.
"Its motto is 'We don't go into history, we prefer to bring history to you'.
"When Omega's ship suddenly materialises in front of their shuttle, and one of their employees goes insane and tries to destroy his hands...
"...suddenly it's not just a motto anymore.
"And Omega - and his madness - is closer than they think."
"Omega", by Nev Fountain, is the first of Big Finish's "Villains" trilogy released in 2003 to mark the 40th anniversary of "Doctor Who" and the run-up to Big Finish's 50th regular release, "Zagreus". Like the other "Villains" stories, "Davros" and "Master", "Omega" is a companionless story. Although the story follows directly on from the televised story "Arc of Infinity", the absence of Nyssa and Tegan is never really explained.
Ian Collier of "Arc of Infinity" returns to play the voice of Omega in this curious four part story. The story pits Peter Davison's Doctor against the ghost of his recent nemesis Omega, who has apparently reformed, fallen in love and now just wants a return ticket for he and his bride-to-be to Omega's own antimatter universe: a journey that the Doctor intends to help him accomplish. Unfortunately, in the midst of all of this, the employees of 'Jolly Chronolidays' are beginning to go mad and people are starting to die.
The story rambles on in this slightly undramatic context for some time and, expecting more from this much vaunted set of releases, I was preparing to rate the story a disappointing three stars. However, episode three builds up to a stunning revelation that puts a whole new perspective on everything that has gone before (that is, if you know the television series well enough to understand what's going on). It salvages the story and makes "Omega" a definite "must listen twice" story.
The performances are on the nail, particularly Peter Davison's. Ian Collier is entertaining as Omega and mixes moments of madness with a world-weary lugubriousness to good effect. Meanwhile, the supporting cast are played well as characters just as ineffectual and feeble-minded as writer Nev Fountain intended them to be. Overall, "Omega" is an enjoyable enough play that is entirely made by its clever third episode.
"Jolly Chronolidays" delivers elderly tourists to areas of great historic interest throughout the universe and their latest venture is to where Omega first used the stellar manipulator to create the black hole from which all time travel originally derives, the "sector of forgotten souls." The Doc ( is on board, as well as a couple of actors ( and a bus load of tourists. I had predicted what was to happen next, (surely Omega will reappear and try to destroy the universe) but spectacularly Nev Fountain flips everything on its head and delivers a spellbinding story gripping from start to finish. The layers of psionic energy in the sector means nobody's ever quite sure who every one else is and the looming shadow of Omega himself is never far from the Doctor's thoughts. Just what is going on? Why is the actor playing Vandokeirion threatening to cut off his hands and calling himself "the conscience of the universe?" Why is the stewardess Sentia so driven to entering the black hole? IS Omega actually present or is it just madness...on everyone's part?
I was very impressed with this story.
'Omega' came as the first of three homages to past villains in the run up to the 40th anniversary behemoth that was 'Zagreus' and was the most surprising as well as the most entertaining. It is also downright barking and features one of the most jaw-dropping end-of-episode cliffhangers ever. The last part is admittedly far too long (it is in truth a five part story, not a four parter), over-indulging its task of expanding on the past. Yet, as a couple of hours of audio entertainment for anyone saturated in the Who universe, 'Omega' is hard to beat. There is a great support cast, the music and sound design are top notch and Peter Davison is at his very best. It is, moreover, often extremely funny.
Though I've only given 'Omega' four stars, it is nonetheless one of a select group of stories from Big Finish's monthly Doctor Who range that I would not willingly be without. (See also: 'Phantasmagoria', 'The Church and the Crown', 'The Kingmaker', 'Year of the Pig', 'Magic Mousetrap', the six stories of 'Season 2002', 'Zagreus', the four stories of 'Season 2004', 'Other Lives' and 'Memory Lane'.) But be warned: if you're not at least partially aware of the two Omega stories on TV, you will miss a lot of the what the story's about. Great though 'Omega' is, it is unshamedly fan-centric.
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