Doc­tor Who

Ev­ery­one loves a gun- wield­ing tor­toise…

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Videogames/ Miscellaneous -

off the air, and some of the most fondly re­mem­bered were writ­ten by Gareth Roberts ( who even­tu­ally be­came a fre­quent writer for the new se­ries). Now, Roberts’s first New Adventure, The High­est Science, has been adapted for au­dio by Big Fin­ish. It’s an en­joy­able romp fea­tur­ing the Sev­enth Doc­tor along­side regular spin- off com­pan­ion Ber­nice Sum­mer­field ( Lisa Bow­er­man).

As the TARDIS crew em­bark on an un­ex­pected quest on a de­serted planet, there’s dan­ger from a va­ri­ety of sources, in­clud­ing the mil­i­taris­tic, tor­toise- like alien Ch­elo­ni­ans, while the fast- paced plot throws in lots of strong dia­logue and imag­i­na­tive con­cepts. What it can’t do is dis­guise the one- di­men­sional chief vil­lain or the fre­quently ran­dom sto­ry­telling, re­sult­ing in a fiz­zle of a cli­max that feels as if Roberts sim­ply ran out of plot. How­ever, Bow­er­man once again makes a lively Who com­pan­ion, and this is ul­ti­mately an en­ter­tain­ing if not quite es­sen­tial lis­ten.

Over in the regular monthly re­leases, the Sixth Doc­tor and Peri are pitched against a new in­car­na­tion of an old en­emy. The Rani Elite sees the TARDIS ar­riv­ing at a pres­ti­gious ga­lac­tic academy – but a sig­nif­i­cant pro­fes­sor there has been re­placed by rene­gade Time Lady the Rani ( Siob­han Red­mond), who’s em­bark­ing on an­other lethal plan… There are some well- crafted plot twists here and the script makes good use of the Rani’s amoral na­ture, while both Colin Baker and Ni­cola Bryant are on ex­cel­lent form. Un­for­tu­nately, Red­mond’s per­for­mance as the Rani is a lit­tle flat, mean­ing this story doesn’t al­ways hit the notes it aims for.

Fi­nally, over in the Early Ad­ven­tures range, there’s qui­eter, more re­flec­tive drama in An Or­di­nary Life, set dur­ing the Hart­nell era’s 12- part epic “The Daleks’ Mas­ter Plan”. On the run from the Daleks, the First Doc­tor, Steven Tay­lor and Sara King­dom make an un­sched­uled stop in ’ 50s Lon­don, where they take shel­ter with a newly- ar­rived Ja­maican fam­ily. When the Doc­tor ap­par­ently aban­dons his com­pan­ions, Steven and Sara are left to try and cope with ev­ery­day life. The first two episodes are char­ac­ter­ful drama with well- played depth. The sec­ond half of the story isn’t as strong, in­stead go­ing for a more tra­di­tional In­va­sion Of The Body Snatch­ers- style tale of alien pos­ses­sion, but de­spite the flaws this is still an in­ter­est­ing ex­am­ple of Who ex­plor­ing dif­fi­cult and chal­leng­ing themes. Saxon Bul­lock Also com­ing out ( from BBC Au­dio on 15 Jan­uary): a read­ing of Tom Baker tale “Full Cir­cle” by Matthew Water­house ( Adric). For the novel, Gaiman wrote the Four Horse­men while Pratch­ett wrote Adam and Them, shar­ing copy on floppy discs.

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