Released in 2009, this is the third part of a five part story that saw the return of Tom Baker to the role of the Fourth Doctor. It is part of a story arc, and can probably be listened to in isolation but I would advise listening to Stuff of Nightmares and the Dancing Shoes first. It is a single hour long episode on a single disc, with some well realised artwork on the inlay.
Following the events of Stuff of Nightmares, the Doctor and Mike Yates are trapped in the cellar at Nest Cottage for the night while the murderous menagerie of possessed taxidermical terrors roams the rest of the building. The Doctor uses the opportunity to fill Mike in on his other encounters with the Hornets. This is his second tale, and he recounts the history of the ballet shoes that featured in the previous tale and how they came to be in a museum in Cromer. His adventures take him to a mysterious circus, run by the grotesque Antonio (a brilliant performance from Who alumni Stephen Thorne). People are flocking to see the high wire act, but people are also disappearing mysteriously. Can the Doctor work out what is going on, how the hornets are involved and save the day?
The tale is largely narrated by Baker, with a few lines from other cast members. It’s more than a simple audiobook, but not quite a full production. It’s an effective style and allows us to glory in Baker’s orotund tones as he slips right back into the role. I rather enjoyed the story, which has a dark and ominous ending. Stephen Thorne is particularly impressive as Antonio, giving Baker a run for his money in the ham stakes. In all 4 stars.