This is the 179th story in the Main Range of full cast audio stories produced by Big Finish, and is the second of a trilogy especially centred around the year 1963, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who. In this story, the Sixth Doctor and Peri have emergency landed the Tardis, as it has developed a fault in one of its circuits (which sounds like a familiar problem to anyone who may know the Doctor). It’s freezing cold in the desert and they contemplate their next move, when they see a crashed car not far away. There, they find three bodies. And then a Soviet military Sergeant arrives, to pick them up; in a case of mistaken identity, the Doctor and Peri must play the deception of their lives, if they’re to survive being part of the Soviet space race in 1963.
I thought this story lacked, to a large degree, a coherent storyline that not only hung together, but that really made sense. The production values on the story over the two cds are very good, as is the incidental music (a suite of which is showcased at the end of the first cd). Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant play their roles as the Sixth Doctor and Peri extremely well, and they have a very good support cast. Karen Henson plays Laris Petrov, David Shaw-Parker plays General Mikhael-Leonov (and an American General), Tom Alexander Captain Alexei Kozlov (and an American Lieutenant), Stuart Denman as Sergeant Leonid Kurakin, and Samantha Beart as Marinka Talanov, and these parts are all extremely well cast, and perfectly pitched in the roles. But I think the story itself was rather outlandish, and not perhaps the best use of either the cast, or the opportunity to tell of a time in Soviet and Western relations, and the race to the Moon, that is of such historical and cultural importance and interest. A shame, but a missed opportunity, overall.
A new Doctor Who audio story. Which features Colin Baker as the Doctor, and Nicola Bryant as his companion Peri. Not a pairing that appears too often in the Big Finish main range, and they are written as they were in Colin Baker's second tv season - ie: mutual respect and no bickering - so it's always nice to hear them together.
The story is the second in a trilogy, all of which are set in 1963. Beyond that common theme, there is nothing to tie this in with the first release in the trilogy, and nothing that seems to link with the third either. Thus it's a release casual listeners can pick up quite easily, as you don't need to have heard anything else in order to get into it.
It runs for four episodes, of thirty minutes each [approx]. It's spread over two cd's.
At the time of the story, Russia was ahead of America in the space race. This opens at a Russian Cosmodrome in November 1963, which has sent a manned capsule to orbit the moon, and see the dark side for the first time.
The Doctor and Peri arrive, and discover a few people at the base have dark secrets. Forced to impersonate two scientists from Moscow, they are at hand when the capsule returns home.
But something has happened to the pilot.
From the surface of the moon, to remotest Kazakhstan, the future of the human race is in peril.
Although all the episodes are over the usual twenty five minutes in duration, they all flow very nicely and never feel overlong. The pacing of the story is just right.
It does have a great period feel. The cold war setting gives some good material for Peri, as she has to survive on her wits as the result of being an American in the middle of Russia. Everything from the time period convinces. Both in the early days of space shots and the East West paranoia.
The first cliffhanger is a very memorable one. Because it is genuinely surprising, doing something that they probably wouldn't be able to do on the tv show.
All the supporting characters are memorable, believable and well acted.
And you won't see the second cliffhanger coming either.
The third episode does tie what appears to be two different plot strands together. And also bring in a strong sense of real history.
The finale in part four is also very well paced and one you can take in easily on the first listen.
Plus there's a nicely haunting little final scene.
The relationship between the Doctor and Peri convinces also, as mentioned. Although the latter doesn't get as effected by one event as you might think she would, but that's only a minor complaint.
This is a good solid story, and well worth a listen.
There's ten minutes of music from it on the last track of disc one. Some of this is very good indeed, with a real Russian feel to it.
A trailer for the next release in the trilogy on the track after the end of part four on disc two.
And just under ten minutes of interviews with cast and crew on the track after that.