Top critical review
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on 26 September 2016
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 fifth release in the second series, and features Sylvester McCoy as the Seventh Doctor, and Sophie Aldred as Ace. Like the previous story, this also features Beth Chalmers as Raine Creevy.
Raine and Ace are travelling with the Doctor in the Tardis, which lands at Margrave University in 2001; some years into Raine’s future, and she is fascinated by the changes she sees about her. But the Doctor has his own reasons for coming here, and Ace and Raine are to help him find out what’s going on. Also here is an old friend, Brigadier Bambera and a UNIT force, who are carrying out their own investigations.
This story, written by Andrew Cartmel, who also wrote the previous story Crime of the Century has lots of good points about it. Raine Creevy is a sympathetic well-written character, and the interaction she has with Ace and the Doctor is very well done. The story features UNIT and Brigadier Bambera, well-beloved character points from previous tv stories. And the Seventh Doctor is at his best, watching over events and manipulating them as he goes about his business.
But sadly there is a lot missing here, I felt. The story unfolds largely out of our ‘view’ or away from us. While we are in attendance at meetings or confrontations before and after events, the events themselves seem, more often than not, to take place off stage. So I felt thoughout the story that we got to skirt round the edges, but never really saw the action itself. Very few of the scenes we got in the audio story were the actual narrative-progressing scenes.
That could be forgiven if the supporting characters were in themselves convincing; but that was not the case. While well acted, the characters themselves never really felt fleshed out or real, and their motivations and story threads never really worked. Scobie, Willa, Juno, Percy, even Sgt. Achterberg; none of them really came to life for me at all.
For me, as the audience, I felt I was never really fully invested in the action or the tension of the story itself. A shame, because the story could have been intriguing, interesting and filled with tension and action-packed moments. As it was, it rather passed me by.