This is the hundred and twentieth release from Big Finish in their range of full cast audio adventures starring classic Doctor Whos. It stars Sylvester McCoy as Seven, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex. There is a welcome guest appearance from Nadim Sawalha as Swapnil Khan. There are four episodes, roughly 25-30 minutes each, complete with original theme music between each, and cliff hanger endings. This is the first of a trilogy of adventures that will bring Hex more to the fore. Two episodes per disc on 2 discs, and a short booklet with some pictures of the cast and production notes. There are some interviews with cast and crew at the end of the first disc disc. There is a treat for regular listeners in the form of the first part of a twelve part adventure called `The Three Companions', with a ten minute segment released on the second disc and on each of the eleven subsequent releases.
This is an excellent release. It takes the character of the Seventh Doctor and his manipulating ways and turns them on his head. He arrives amnesiac at a sanatorium in 1920s Switzerland (and as we all know, McCoy can do amnesiac and confused very well by now). He is being manipulated by someone, as some grand game is being played out. But just who is doing the manipulating?And why is he being given such regular electric shocks? The big reveal at the end of episode one is jaw dropping. And the even bigger reveal of the main villain is equally jaw dropping and chilling. I won't spoil it.
It's played out as a grotesque mixture of Agatha Christie and Noel Coward, a dark mystery with a level of wit and intelligence that really makes it shine. It walks the line between humour and darkness superbly, never straying too far into either territory and resulting in a gripping and entertaining two hours of drama. It's a really 5 star production.
The Three Companions promises to be a classic adventure. This first ten minute segment introduces us to a correspondence between Anneke Wills' Polly and Nicholas Courtney's Brigadier Lethbridge Stewart in which Polly starts to relate one of her adventures with the Second Doctor, Jamie and Ben. It's especially welcome to hear Courtney as the Brig, and it reminds us of how sadly he missed by the world of Who. A brief note at the end reveals the identity of the third companion, and lets on that there is trouble ahead for Polly and the Brigadier.