Time- warped TARDIS teams triumphant?
in Last Of The Cybermen, the Sixth Doctor ( Colin Baker) is paired with Troughton- era companions Jamie ( Frazer Hines) and Zoe ( Wendy Padbury). They end up on a bleak planetoid, where a strange outpost is somehow connected to the end of the Cyber Wars, and the resulting adventure does its best to contrast the different styles of the Second and Sixth Doctors. The script maintains a fun, imaginative tone and remains consistently enjoyable, although the convoluted final episode does overplay the time- travel shenanigans.
Stronger and more focused, The Secret History brings the trilogy to an effective close, as a temporal glitch unites the Fifth Doctor ( Peter Davison) with Hartnell- era companions Steven ( Peter Purves) and Vicki ( Maureen O’Brien). The TARDIS lands them in the latter days of the Roman Empire, and what starts as a ripping historical saga turns stranger as it becomes clear someone is deliberately manipulating the Doctor’s life. The ultimate reveal of the mystery is effective, while the story maintains a creative blend of historical detail and sci- fi intrigue. Strong acting and a witty script make this a satisfying conclusion, as well as a great showcase for the joyful oddities of classic Who storytelling.
Elsewhere, the latest season of Fourth Doctor audios continues with a pair of adventures that show off the different flavours of the Tom Baker era. In Suburban Hell, the tone is deliberately comic, as the Doctor and Leela gatecrash a seemingly ordinary ’ 70s suburban dinner party, then encounter temporal anomalies alongside a terrifying alien force. A deliberate homage to classic ’ 70s comedydrama Abigail’s Party, it’s an entertaining and lurid tale that veers from hilarious melodrama to pulpy SF thrills, and which gives Baker plenty of chances to shine.
In contrast, The Cloisters Of Terror goes firmly into gothic horror mode, as the Doctor and Leela investigate strange activities at an Oxford college where a trio of ghostly nuns are wreaking havoc. There are entertainingly spooky setpieces and sharply crafted dialogue, although the mix of supernatural horror and sci- fi ultimately goes in a fairly predictable direction. Nevertheless, it’s still a lively retro SF chiller that’s once again anchored by excellent performances from both Tom Baker and Louise Jameson. Saxon Bullock Also out: a First Doctor Companion Chronicles box set, and ( 16 July) a reading of the novelisation of “The Ark In Space”. The publishers are looking for people to playtest a new game, Xenoshyft: Dreadmire. See http:// bit. ly/ xenotest.