The Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) is back and Leela (Louise Jameson) is by his side. This time he is meeting the would-be King of Sontar. But before the Doctor even arrives, the elite Assassination Guard have come to take the life of Sontaran General Strang (Dan Starkey), currently machinating on the planet of Dowcra. If only it was that easy. Strang has several people under his control including the humans, his mercenary Reaver (Jenny Funnell) and the scientist Rosato (David Collings), who is cooking up something including a portal and a vat full of clones.
The Doctor has been diverted from his hol-i-day by the naughty Time Lords who like to use him to do their dirty work. Now he’s here, just what is his plan? We must wait and see while he skips into danger with Leela and a bagful of jelly babies no doubt.
A classic adventure, this involves many guns firing and strange encounters with the probic vent. As Reaver attempts to root out the conspirators who brought the assassination squad to Dowcra, she finds the Doctor instead, taking him prisoner, whilst Leela falls in with the renegade Sonataran, Vilhol, (John Banks), who is a little upset by her claiming to be a warrior. Despite his obvious distain, she persuades him to form a team to release the Doctor.
An unlikely alliance and all the banter that follows is an excellent premise for a story and whilst General Strang continues to do his whole taking over the universe thing with his white-coated scientist assistant, the Doctor arrives to mix it up.
Despite the comedy and there is plenty of Fourth Doctor humour who has us at ‘Hello’, this story has a serious subtext which it manages not to over labour.
Once again. the writing of John Dorney lays out the beautiful manicured lawn of language which our actors scythe through. There is almost a competition for the best use of a single word. Obviously, Tom is there with ‘Hello’ but Dan Starkey’s use of the word ‘cretin’ and also ‘humans’ could take the prize.
There is a lot more for Leela here. Rather than being the under-utilised resource of the original TV episodes, Leela, as skilfully reproduced by Louise Jameson is given motivation and articulation by Dorney who uses her to move along the plot.
If you want to hear the words ‘cosmological defenestration’ used in context then you should listen to this audio.
(pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story. Price: CD: £10.99 (UK), Download: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-290-3)
cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Dan Starkey, David Collings, John Banks, David Seddon and Jenny Funnell
check out website: www.bigfinish.com