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The Whispering Forest
on 17 November 2015
This story is the 137th release in the Big Finish Main Range, and is the second story in a trilogy featuring the Fifth Doctor. This is the first story that fully features the now reunited Tardis crew of Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa who has now returned to travel with the Doctor (after the reunion in the earlier story Cobwebs). The Doctor has programmed the Tardis to search for places where Richter’s Syndrome may be present, wanting to help Nyssa with her crusade to find a cure for the disease. On landing, they all find themselves in a heavily wooded area; soon separated from the others, the Doctor and Tegan are taken by a group of humans whose lives are lived in the search for purity through cleanliness; where life is lived by ‘Rules’ laid down long ago. Turlough and Nyssa find themselves in danger from those who the humans fear and shun; the Takers. But who are they, and why are they taking people from the settlement?
This is a really clever story; it unfolds very carefully, as the Doctor pieces together things from the perspective of the settlement and its history, and we hear the Takers at their own work far from the settlement. The ‘history’ of this world, and how these peoples’ lives have now become so distorted from their original purpose, is very interesting, and very intriguing to hear. The story itself becomes one of a clash of cultures, and a search for power. The Doctor must keep himself and his companions safe, and try to help the people of Purity Bay find a new balance in their civilisation.
I liked the elements that made up the story; the ‘Rules’, the settlement, the machinery that they have access to, the Takers, the ‘shades’. It’s all very well put together, and makes for a most intriguing story. Sue Wallace as Mertil, Paul Shelley as Jestan and Hayley Atwell as Seska particularly stand out in the great supporting cast; and it’s great to hear the whole Tardis crew back together again.