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Cobwebs: Oh no, not the gloomy Aussie...
on 22 August 2013
This is the hundred and thirty sixth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Peter Davison as Five, Sarah Sutton as Nyssa, Mark Strickson as Turlough and, in a very unwelcome move, Janet Fielding as Tegan. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with cliffhangers and original theme music between each. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. This is the first in a trilogy of three linked adventures set immediately following the TV series 20 adventure `Enlightenment'. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the second disc and a few minutes of the soundtrack at the end of disc 1.
Before I start, I must say I have a bias that means I probably cannot review this story with a proper detachment. I disliked Tegan intensely when she was in the TV series, and felt that her presence really spoiled what would have been some great adventures for the Fifth Doctor. If he hadn't been saddled with the eternally whinging and disagreeable mouth on legs then more of Davison's TV episodes would probably now be regarded as classics. So it was with a grimace of distaste that I noted Tegan's presence in this adventure and put the disc in the player.
The story is set just after the end of the TV adventure Enlightenment, with Five, Turlough and Tegan travelling together and encountering a much older Nyssa, who left the TARDIS crew at the end of Terminus. She is on the hunt for a cure to a deadly space plague and her quest has led her to an old deserted research facility, where she bumps into an insane computer and some old friends. They discover some very disturbing relics in a sealed lab, and are soon on a desperate quest to avoid what seems to be an unavoidable fate.
It's an OK story, even if the resolution is a bit rushed. But it suffers from all the problems that the series 19-20 stories suffered from - namely too many companions with not enugh to do and one of the companions being the essentially unlikeable Tegan.
Seriously guys? After the abomination that was `The Gathering' you decided it was a good idea to bring Tegan back? Here she does nothing but moan and then moan some more. It obscures poor Turlough, and an interesting take on Nyssa struggles to be heard. It's very annoying, and drags a three star story even lower. Bring back Turlough, who has appeared in three great BF productions, or Nyssa, who has had a great story arc and character development with BF yes, but why resurrect the whinging Aussie, especially after her appalling previous appearance? If you had to do it, why not do it in the same was as you treated Adric in `The Boy That Time Forgot'?
So all in all a three star story dragged down to 2 stars. I note with dread that most of the Fifth Doctor releases from this one up until the time of writing feature Tegan, I am seriously considering not purchasing these future releases. And for a geek collector like me that is a serious step.