Short Trips: Flywheel Revolution
Release Date: OUT NOW!
32 minutes | £ 2.99 ( download only) Publisher: Big Finish
Tom Baker fans, rejoice!
Big Finish are bringing us even more Fourth Doctor adventures than ever before, here delivering a triple- load of Who audio that showcases Baker’s wonderfully eccentric style. It’s largely thanks to their continuing series of novel adaptations, which here shift their attention to the trio of mid-’ 90s books written by new series scribe Gareth Roberts.
Starring the TARDIS crew of the Fourth Doctor, Romana ( Lalla Ward) and K- 9 ( John Leeson), Roberts’ three Missing Adventures did a memorable job of recreating the offbeat tone of the Graham Williams- produced era of Who, and the first two adaptations are out now ( with the third to arrive later in 2015). The Romance Of Crime begins with the TARDIS arriving on the Rock of Judgement, a justice station built into an asteroid where criminals regularly meet their end. The Doctor and Romana are soon entangled with an eccentric artist, a troubled investigator, a megalomaniacal killer and a team of lunk- headed Ogrons, resulting in a typically witty ( and occasionally violent) mix of adventure, escapes and quick- fire gags.
The English Way Of Death ( also reissued in paperback this month) maintains the kooky tone, but in a more historical setting, as the Doctor and Romana visit ’ 30s England and encounter a gaseous alien entity named Zodaal with a liking for brain- hungry zombies and a deadly plan that could destroy the world. The comedic tone gets even broader here, with both Baker and Ward giving sterling performances, and the story features an engaging set of bizarre plot twists. As with The Romance Of Crime, the balance of frothy comedy and dark horror occasionally falls a little flat, but otherwise these lively adaptations add up to a nostalgic double- bill that no self- respecting fan of classic Who should be without.
The third Baker release this month kicks off the latest season of Fourth Doctor adventures, which once again teams him with Leeson as K- 9 and Louise Jameson as Leela. The Exxilons sees the TARDIS team getting involved in a confrontation on an unnamed planet between a race of primitive warriors and the technologically advanced aliens who are trying to help them, but who are also hiding a secret… Anyone familiar with the 1974 TV story “Death To The Daleks” will soon see where this effective drama is heading… The Exxilons acts as a great example of a continuity- based sequel, while also finding interesting angles on the Doctor’s regular role in negotiating peaceful conflict resolutions.
Over in the regular monthly releases, Mistfall begins a new trilogy starring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough, as the TARDIS accidentally returns to the mysterious universe of E- Space. The story sees the Doctor and his friends arrive on Adric’s home planet of Alzarius, 300 years after his previous visit ( in 1980 adventure “Full Circle”), and find a new expedition of arrivals investigating the planet’s dangerous ecosystem. Unfortunately, the lethal time of Mistfall is nigh, and the expedition is being sabotaged… The gripping story does a good job of mixing sci- fi concepts with thrilling action, and strong performances from the leads help this kick off the new trilogy in a great amount of style.
Finally, Big Finish are also building on their regular print anthologies by starting a new line of download- only audio short stories. The Short Trips series begins with Flywheel Revolution, a First Doctor adventure narrated by ’ 60s companion Peter Purves set in a bizarre alien junkyard where an abandoned robot has to face off against an unknown monster, and where things aren’t entirely what they seem… This engaging, well- crafted tale features strong prose and effective world- building with a nicely retro edge, while also tapping into the themes of co- operation and understanding that are the bedrock of good Who storytelling. Saxon Bullock.
Kicks off the new trilogy in a great amount of style
Also out soon: readings of the novelisation of “Remembrance Of The Daleks” and Eleventh Doctor book Tales Of Trenzalore.