This is part of the series of Lost Stories produced as full cast audio dramas by Big Finish. These are stories which, for various reasons, were written, or had story ideas drawn up for various Doctors in the tv series, but were never made. Big Finish have released nearly 30 of these Lost Stories so far, and they’re a brilliant chance to hear stories that we might have seen on tv, had circumstances been different; and a great opportunity to hear stories of their time, written for the Doctor of the time. This one is the sixth release in the first series, and features Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, and Nicola Bryant as Peri.
The story was originally storylined in the 1980s, after the success of Barbara Clegg’s story Enlightenment in 1983. Four storylines were submitted by Barbara, but all of them were declined at the time. At the suggestion of Keith Barnfather who had filmed a Myth Makers documentary with Barbara, the storylines were looked at for the BF Lost Stories range, and Point of Entry was pulled out by David Richardson (Producer of the Lost Stories range) as one that had huge potential as an audio play. Barbara didn’t want to write the script, but was happy that someone else did so, so Marc Platt was approached to write the story. The story as he drafted it was submitted to Barbara Clegg for her consideration, and after she had studied it thoroughly, Marc Platt and David Richardson met with her and found that she had only suggested one change – relating to the way the Sixth Doctor would react to a scene in the Tower of London. Her point was totally valid, and the change was accordingly made.
I find the historical figure of Christopher Marlowe to be utterly fascinating, and I looked forward immensely to this story which featured him in a pivotal role, set in Elizabethan England, at a time when the English were feeling the effects of the plague, and of the uncertainty of their collective future with Catholic Europe, and particularly Philip II of Spain, threatening their sovereignty. Marlowe, in this story, is struggling with writing his play about Faust (and quite when, historically, that might have been is still argued amongst scholars). (The story seems to be set in the late 1580s, given some of the conversations that take place.) Stuck for inspiration, and feeling the pressure of deadlines and the constraints with his cast, he is amenable to the offer of being shown secrets and visions that will help with his writing, from a mysterious Spaniard, Don Lorenzo Velez who appears in his lodgings one night. In return, Velez wants Kit’s help in finding an ancient stone blade.
Meanwhile, in the Tardis, the Doctor and Peri find themselves in a near collision with an asteriod, and materialise, to find out what’s going on. They find themselves in Elizabethan England, but it’s an England that’s brutal and harsh, and one where Peri and the Doctor soon find themselves in mortal danger. The Doctor has an appointment with Sir Francis Walsingham, and Peri has her own destiny to discover.
This is an absolutely and utterly marvellous story, and has behind the brilliant storyline and brilliant writing a totally rock-solid cast. Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri are in top form. They are backed up by Matt Addis playing Marlowe wonderfully; Luis Soto playing Don Lorenzo Velez; Tam Williams as Kit’s friend Tom (Tam Williams is the son of Simon Williams, who played Group Captain Gilmore in Remembrance of the Daleks and continuing in the role in the Counter Measures series of BF audios, and Belinda Carroll, who is the sister of Kate O’Mara, who played the Rani in the Doctor Who series); Ian Brooker as Walsingham; Sean Connolly as Iguano, and as Captain Garland; Gemma Wardle as Alyx; Alex Mallinson as the unfortunate Jack (with extra kudos for playing a mute – on audio!).
This is a story that has everything in it – a historical story which is so much more than purely historical, yet never feels like it has elements bolted on to it that don’t fit. It has drama, tragedy, horror, alien elements, wit and outright comedy (the scene with the Doctor trying to get into the Tower of London made me laugh out loud). It’s a story I will happily listen to over and over, and never tire of. Brilliant.