At the end of ‘The Trail Of The White Worm’, the Doctor and Leela were in dire straits. The Master had them under his control and something nasty was about to come through the wormhole.
As ‘The Oseidon Adventure’ opens, we are faced with a massive Kraal invasion force, an android army and a seemingly impossible situation. The Kraals are disappointed with the attitude of their ally, the Master, and take a shine to the loopy Colonel Spindleton (Michael Cochrane). A change in the balance of power might be just the opportunity the Doctor and Leela need, cut off from any chance of getting help they may have to save the Earth alone.
Effectively Part 2 of ‘White Worm’, ‘The Oseidon Adventure’ (a fun pun name if ever I heard one) carries on the Master’s dastardly plot to bring the Kraals to take over the world. Those Kraals sound awfully like those other potato-headed villains, the Sontarans. It might be because Dan Starkey plays Marshall Grinmal of the Second Kraal Army (see ‘The Android Invasion’ to find out what happened to the First) or it could just be inevitable that a potato is a potato is a potato.
Aside from that, we have the deliciously evil Master (here voiced by Geoffrey Beevers), an android army and so many cases of mistaken identity that this could be one of Shakespeare’s plays.
Humour with your baddies is a dangerous game and this will turn off some people who prefer pure evil. I was frequently reminded of Dastardly and Muttley for some reason when the Master and his cronies plot their evilness. Again, this is going for the funny bone more often than not, although this does not prevent death from occurring, the real effects are not felt. It works for me but we have lost the sense that these villains are really invincible. They have started to become the comedy turn, in the way the unbeatable Daleks have. OK, I don’t want my villains to be hardcore every time, we all need a little light and shade but there is a danger that we downgrade the Fourth Doctor to whimsy only.
‘The Oseidon Adventure’ is an intricate tale with multiple twists which cause laugh out loud moments without feeling that there will be a bad outcome for the Doctor, Leela or the Earth itself.
(pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story. Price: CD: £10.99 (UK), Download: £ 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-617-1)
cast: Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, Geoffrey Beevers, Michael Cochrane, Dan Starkey and John Banks
check out website: www.bigfinish.com