DOC­TOR WHO: THE LAS T AD­VEN TURE

Six’s fi­nal out­ing

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Colin Baker’s Doc­tor is re­united with another old neme­sis this month, in two- CD re­lease Planet Of The Rani.

Of all the ways in which the Sixth Doc­tor got a raw deal in his tele­vi­sual era, one of the most galling is that, thanks to Colin Baker be­ing fired from the role, he’s the only Doc­tor to never get a proper fi­nale: bump­ing his head at the start of 1987’ s “Time And The Rani” is hardly a dra­matic cause for re­gen­er­a­tion. Big Fin­ish have set out to change that with this box set, a quar­tet of one- hour episodes de­signed to give Baker’s Doc­tor the last hur­rah he de­serves.

To mark the oc­ca­sion, they’ve pitched him against the evil al­ter­nate in­car­na­tion of the Doc­tor known as the Va­le­yard ( Michael Jayston). How­ever, they’ve also pre­sented these sto­ries as four sep­a­rate ad­ven­tures, each with a dif­fer­ent com­pan­ion, mean­ing that a lot of The Last Ad­ven­ture plays more like a loosely struc­tured an­thol­ogy than a grand cli­max.

This isn’t helped by some early wob­bles – End Of The Line has en­gag­ingly creepy mo­ments but is nearly sunk by over­writ­ten di­a­logue, while The Red House mixes bizarre ac­cents with ex­ces­sive over­act­ing. Stage Fright is a rou­tine but fun Vic­to­rian romp helped by the pres­ence of spin- off char­ac­ters Jago and Lite­foot, and it’s only in The Brink Of Death that ev­ery­thing clicks and the box set fi­nally gives us a tense, grip­ping cli­max.

Baker is on top form through­out, and Jayston also gives an im­pres­sive per­for­mance, even though the Va­le­yard re­mains a mess­ily- con­ceived vil­lain who only be­comes truly scary in The Brink Of Death. The fi­nal episode is a well- crafted, gen­uinely fit­ting fi­nale for Baker, and could easily have been ex­panded, mak­ing it a shame that The Last Ad­ven­ture spends so much time feel­ing like a lengthy, slightly ram­bling pro­logue. Saxon Bul­lock

“Can I have your coat when you croak?”

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