The Sixth Doctor undertakes a little bit of anti-nuclear protesting in the new Lost Story, ‘Powerplay’. This would have been very topical in the 1980s when it was lost to the vagaries of the attitude towards ‘Doctor Who’. It is also momentous for another reason, for this is the first time we have the return of a previous companion.
When the Doctor and Peri arrive at the site of a nuclear plant they are intrigued by the Greenham Common-style protest going on there. All is not well at the plant. It seems to be a little like Willie Wonka’s Chocolate Factory as the lorries that come out carrying waste mysteriously disappear a few yards down the road. The protesters are quite down-to-earth, including a woman who might just be your grandma if she hadn’t previously been a time-traveller just like Peri. Victoria Waterfield has a mysterious past but her history is no undiscovered country to the Doctor, who knew her simply as Victoria when he was wearing his second body.
‘Powerplay’ is a great combination of the personal and the political and in a way reminds me of the classic nuclear series ‘Edge Of Darkness’. Of course, being ‘Doctor Who’, there is more to the nuclear plant than meets the eye and this adds an interesting dimension to the plot.
The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) is travelling with Peri (Nicola Bryant) and meeting Victoria Waterfield (Deborah Watling) again is a shock for all of them. Not least because she is going to kill him. Some people just don’t like waiting for that blue box, do they?
‘Powerplay’ has a suitably intriguing story and in addition, the panache of the Sixth Doctor carries this off well and it’s a very good addition to the ‘Lost Stories’ collection. The only shame is that he has to rein in his developed character that he has created for Big Finish and we return to the less liked version. It’s a nice touch that Victoria is playing her own age as she was left back in the 20th Century and here we are in the 1980s.
There are some exceptional actors in this. My favourite is Miles Jupp, playing the mysterious Dominic who runs the nuclear facility. He should definitely be paired with Alex MacQueen in a special story and they could have a marvellous voice-off.
Such is the ubiquitous nature of ‘Doctor Who’ these days, we can’t imagine a time when someone would willingly remove it from our screens. Such was the desert of the 1980s imagination that programme controllers thought they could come up with something better. Bombarded as we are by DVDS, audios and books these days, we can scarcely find the time to consider that there might be other programmes available (oh, just me then).
This is enjoyable both in reference to ‘Doctor Who’ history but also as a new story for the Sixth Doctor. The audio extras add some extra knowledge to the story production and this ‘Lost Story’ project continues to produce some super adventures to enjoy as a sort of retrospective timey-wimey exercise.
pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story and extras. Price: CD: £14.99 (UK), Download: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-587-7)
cast: Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Deborah Watling David Warwick, Miles Jupp, Andrew Dickens, Howard Gossington, Victoria Alcock, Greg Donaldson and James Hayward
check out website: www.bigfinish.com