The synthesized pan-pipe music, so beloved of 1980s' TV sci-fi, immediately dates this full-cast audio adventure, and informs the listener that this is very much a period piece. Colin Baker's Sixth Doctor - having had a rennaisance on audio since he was ditched by the BBC - has a script that highlights all his incarnation's verbal pomposity and intellectual arrogance, and doesn't really showcase his characters' more appealing side at all. Peri, his 'assistant' (as they called the Time Lord's travelling companions then) has little of interest to do, especially as the story is told in flashback, and she spends most of it quizzing The Doctor about the events in Hollowdean. Most grating though is Susan Sheridan's impersonation of an eleven year old boy, Simon; incredibly the extras at the end of disc 2 feature several actors and crew (including Baker), raving about the actress' uncanny ability to speak like a pre-pubescent boy, but for me, Sheridan's puffed-up squeak is one of the things that is wrong with this story.
The potentially impressive but ultimately disappointing alien presence 'The Tractators' are brought back for their second Doctor Who appearance, but if anything they are even less-impressive this time around. The creatures are only ever referred to by other characters and never encountered alive, and one wonders why writer Chris Bidmead didn't make more of his creations. Overall this is a slow and disappointing installment in what has been on balance a very impressive series, and I just hope that PJ Hammonds' Paradise 5 (Doctor Who: The Lost Stories) provides a tonic to its predecessor's moribund production.