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This review is from: Primeval (Doctor Who) (Audio CD)
`You'll have to forgive me, I always find it difficult to relax somewhere so tranquil. In my experience every paradise has its serpents somewhere.'
With Nyssa suffering from a disease that the Doctor has absolutely no idea how to deal with, he is forced to take her to the only place in the universe that can help her. But their arrival there is part of a larger, more sinister plan, which could mean the end of everything...
Lance Parkin makes his Doctor Who audio debut with Primeval, starring Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton as the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa respectively. Parkin's style is well-suited to radio and his characters are likeable (apart from the baddies!) and well-rounded.
By setting Primeval on Traken, some several thousand years before its destruction in Logopolis, Parkin takes the opportunity to explore the Traken society in a way that was never really seen in the series, and the result is quite fascinating. The idea of the Traken Union, a society which existed in almost total perfection, is very intriguing and Parkin uses his story to delve into the history and to a certain extent, the creation of the Union. Whilst this forms only part of Primeval's plot, it plays a significant contributing factor to the drama's ultimate success.
Peter Davison's Big Finish audios have not always been the best in the range - his Doctor has not enjoyed the critical renaissance that Colin Baker's or even Sylvester McCoy's have; however this adventure is one of his strongest so far and it is definitely the cricket-loving, Edwardian adventurer that springs to mind when you hear his refined tones.
The rest of the cast are also very good. They are very much divided between the two settings of the story, but both sides manage good performances. Ian Hallard does well as Shayla's assistant Sabian, and the relationship that he develops with Nyssa which at times borders on the romantic is very well handled by Parkin's script. Much like on television, the Consuls Hyrca and Janneus are at odds with the Doctor at times, but both Marc Woolgar and Rita Davies play their roles appropriately.
The production aspect of Primeval is once more impeccable; Russell Stone's score is very atmospheric, really assisting the mood of the play through appropriate music and by ensuring that it never intrudes upon the drama itself.