This is the sixth story in the third season of the Fourth Doctor Adventures, featuring Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor, with Louise Jameson as Leela, his ‘savage’ companion. The Doctor takes Leela to see a successful Earth colony Delafoss, where the people farm, and live a simple life. But when they get there, they find Delafoss is a huge industrial planet, ruled by the Eminence, whose Infinite Warriors rule the slave population through force and brutality.
What are the Eminence, and what is it that they are doing on Delafoss? Trying to find out, the Doctor and Leela are separated, and must both find their own way to stop the Infinite, and ultimately stop the Eminence.
The Eminence are a ‘new’ alien enemy for the Doctor, but so far have made three appearances, all about the same time. This story features their first appearance to the earliest Doctor incarnation, the Fourth. But there are two other appearances by the Eminence, The Seeds of War with the Sixth Doctor, and in Dark Eyes 2 with the Eighth Doctor. Clearly these are an enemy that the Doctor must struggle to overcome, and we can hope for more appearances from these alien life forms yet.
This is a great story; supported by a great guest cast, the Doctor and Leela show up tremendously well throughout in their characterisations. In particular, Clive Mantle as Tillegat and Lieutenant Treves doesn’t have a large role in this story, but he has appeared in several other BF audio stories and always has a great audio ‘presence’. (He has played Oliver Cromwell in The Settling, and Tuvold in The Burning Prince.) Michael Fenton-Stevens as Moorson also has worked in BF audios before – as Shakespeare in The Kingmaker, and Brooks in The Raincloud Man. The voices of the Eminence, and the Infinite Warriors is particularly chilling in this story; you can imagine all sorts of horrors as to what they may look like, and the voices give a really horrifying feeling to their ‘reality’.
A great story, and one which offers room for sequels, both for the Eminence, but also for the struggle of the Earth Alliance to free their colony worlds. Definitely recommended.
on 19 July 2014
This latest Fourth Doctor release sees the third, or rather the first, appearance of the Eminence. Created especially for audio they are soon becoming one of Big Finish’s the strongest, original alien species. This is the third story to be released that they have featured in and even though there have been hints and veiled references to this particular story in ‘The Seeds of War’ (featuring the Sixth Doctor) and part of the ‘Dark Eyes’ series (featuring the Eighth) this is not exactly a prequel to either. ‘Destroy the Infinite’ just happens to have been released after the other Eminence’s appearances due to the schedule of Big Finish.
Due to their development as ongoing opponents for the Doctor, what can be revealed about the Eminence within the scope of this story is somewhat limited. The gist of what they are and how they function is obvious but not much more. The full scale of the universal threat they pose isn’t really yet apparent as it is in their chronologically later appearances. The two leads do a great job of trying to sell them as a threat, especially in the closing stages of the play, but somehow their words don’t quite feel as if they match the alien race that we have seen within the confines of this audio. It feels more like the speeches that the Doctor and Leela give are more orientated to set the Eminence up for their other stories. Also, despite how threatening the Doctor claims them to be, I never really got the impression that the Doctor wasn’t in control of the situation. This is early days for the Eminence, but they are still quite a memorable presence. Their voices are excellent (although surprisingly not voiced by Nicholas Briggs).
The eponymous Infinite is a gargantuan spaceship, much in the vein of the Death Star or something similar. Indeed, the assault of the humans upon it and Leela’s attack plan is somewhat reminiscent of ‘A New Hope’. Leela’s proactive role in this space battle provides a chance for her to exhibit a military tactical ability not really seen before from her, rather than just showing her battle prowess and combat skill. It is yet another example of how this latest Fourth Doctor series has really focussed on exploring more facets of Leela and developing her as a character.
The space battle itself is a little clichéd at times. There is certainly little of surprise in it. Personally I find space battles a little tricky to listen to on audio but this one does a good job of switching the focus back to the two main leads and their situations. It gives the battle a bit more depth in this way.
‘Destroy the Inifinite’ successfully achieves what must be its main objectives; it establishes the Eminence for what could become a string of appearances and continues to develop Leela and her relationship with the Doctor. Although enjoyable it isn’t the most exciting or original story in this current Fourth Doctor series. But is has a significant role to play in Big Finish’s Doctor Who stories.