Entropy, double Masters and tunnels of doom
Big Finish is often great
at bringing modern characterisation and depth to Doctor Who characters who rarely got the chance to shine on- screen, and its latest release is another example of how strong ’ 80s companion Nyssa ( Sarah Sutton) could have been, treated right.
Also the finale to their E- Space trilogy of releases, The Entropy Plague sees the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough struggling to escape from a dying “exo- universe”. The addition of some clichéd space pirates is a shame, but otherwise this is a dark, powerful and very well- played adventure that packs a weighty emotional punch. Another finale arrives in Dark
Eyes 4, the latest four- disc box set starring Paul McGann’s Eighth Doctor, which conclusively wraps up the Dark Eyes saga. As the Doctor tries to locate his missing companion Molly O’Sullivan, he instead encounters the nefarious schemes of the Dalek Time Controller, and has another showdown with the new incarnation of the Master ( Alex MacQueen). These four episodes are inventive and enjoyable, although diminishing returns do start setting in during the latter half, as the number of plot twists, epic battles and timeline alterations gets positively bewildering.
Over in the Tom Baker- starring Fourth Doctor adventures, another incarnation of the Time Lord’s nemesis is on the prowl in the pulp-tastic Requiem For The Rocket Men. Originally seen in the Companion Chronicles range, the Rocket Men are intergalactic criminals with a grudge against the Doctor, but when he decides to take them on directly, the result is a fun collection of deceptions and double- crosses that also involves the Master ( Geoffrey Beevers). Reversing the traditional format of the Doctor/ Master conflict, this is a ferociously enjoyable adventure that gives more welcome depth to the relationship between the Fourth Doctor and Leela ( Louise Jameson).
Finally, the latest download- only Short Trips release is a tale of the Third Doctor narrated by original Pertwee companion Katy Manning. Time Tunnel follows the Doctor and Jo as UNIT is drafted in to investigate a mysterious train full of dead bodies. It’s a nicely played and occasionally creepy tale that captures the vibe of the Pertwee era. While the climax could have done with being a little stronger, this is still a satisfying and entertaining bite- sized listen. Saxon Bullock. Out on 16 April, from BBC Audio: readings of Mark Gatiss book The Roundheads and the novelisation of “Frontios”.