The Bounty Of Ceres
Release Date: OUT NOW!
115 minutes | CD/ download Publisher: Big Finish
Following neatly on from New Who’s recent reinvention of the Master, the latest Big Finish box set portrays a more traditional take on the Doctor’s arch- enemy. Proceeding directly from Dark Eyes 2’ s cliffhanger, the third instalment of the saga sees the Eighth Doctor ( Paul McGann) put on the trail of the Master, who’s attempting to use the metahuman abilities of Irish WW1 nursing assistant Molly O’Sullivan to control the all- conquering Eminence.
As before, it’s a box set of four one- hour episodes, and the tone is dark as the Doctor’s battle with the Master takes in multiple locations and timelines. Dark Eyes 3 has plenty of strong moments and dramatic twists, and McGann is on excellent form as always – it just doesn’t quite equal the narrative drive of its predecessors, and feels a little stretched across its four- hour running time.
Elsewhere, Masters Of Earth pitches the Sixth Doctor and Peri into a challenging dilemma, as they arrive in Scotland in 2163, a year before the First Doctor is due to defeat the Dalek occupation of Earth. Despite his best efforts, the Sixth Doctor ends up involved in a desperate race to the potential safety of a Scottish island. The story utilises imaginative concepts alongside powerful action sequences and well- used continuity references. A pacey wartime thriller with an effective sense of bleakness, it does a great job of capturing the mood of 1964’ s “The Dalek Invasion Of Earth”, while also delivering an impactful and gripping adventure.
Finally, in the latest Early Adventures release, The Bounty Of Ceres, things get impressively hard SF as the TARDIS arrives on a dwarf planet in the asteroid belt, where the First Doctor, Vicki and Steven run into trouble with a group of asteroid miners and an unknown force that’s out to kill them. The script does a good job of mixing the Hartnell era’s educational style with a more modern approach, and evolves into a brisk SF drama that also pulls off some interesting character work on Steven, exploring his astronaut background in more detail than the original show ever managed. Saxon Bullock
Also out ( on 18 December): a reading of War Doctor novel Engines Of War, performed by Dalek voice Nicholas Briggs.