Doctor Who: Last Of The Cybermen by Alan Barnes (CD review).
Zoë (Wendy Padbury) and Jamie (Frazer Hines) are bemused to meet a man with a multi-coloured coat who not only calls himself the Doctor but seems to know a lot about them. But where is their Doctor, the funny little clown with a mop of black hair? We should not be too surprised as this is the series known as the Locum Doctors celebrating as Big Finish gets to 200 episodes of the Doctor Who audios from Big Finish. A milestone indeed.
The Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) has been transported Quantum Leap-style to take the place of his predecessor and perhaps right some wrongs.
The three decide they must explore, after they have established a sort of mutual trust on one side and mistrust on the other. The dialogue is sharp and informed with great love of the characters who have become companions by default, not forgetting that Jamie and the Doctor do meet in TV special episode, ‘The Two Doctors’. There are some spot on references to the Second Doctor adventures when the Sixth Doctor reveals he knows so much about the pair gaining Zoë’s trust at least.
The three of them are stuck together and then chased by a regionally-accented Cyberman as they follow where the Second Doctor was heading. Over the ridge the newly made group find a vast Cyberhead at the top of a mountain, a monument to a lost race or a tomb of Cybermen waiting to be woken?
An inspired idea and a great excuse to get these three together, this is also a grand adventure using the logical approach of the Cybermen to the plot’s advantage. It has classic cliff-hangers and some inspired comedy fighting. Nicholas Farrell as Captain Frank adds an extra dimension along with Nicholas Briggs’ Cybermen. With Lucy Liemann playing Curatrix Zennox and Kieran Hodgson playing the brilliant Findel, who finds Zoe more than a mathematical challenge, this four part adventure feels well populated. It takes the time to introduce new characters and let us get the measure of them, leading us to an opinion as to where the story might be taking us and them. It doesn’t feel padded at four episodes and makes the space to allow some in-episode flirting and some maths. ‘Last Of The Cybermen’ challenges our assumptions about whether we can believe our ears as it leads us nicely down the garden path and practically into the potting shed. I found I could imagine this story happening with the Second Doctor but the time displacement of the Sixth and his tetchy relationship with Jamie made it extra special for me. The ‘Locum Doctor’ arc also encourages us to ponder on just where this might be going as it leads to the final episode, ‘The Secret History’.
The extras show the affection the cast has for each other and indeed some of their own not quite so secret history.
(pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: £14.99 (UK), Download: £12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-78178-459-4)
cast: Colin Baker, Frazer Hines, Wendy Padbury, Lucy Liemann, Kieran Hodgson, Nicholas Farrell and Nicholas Briggs
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