DOCTOR WHO: NIGHTSHADE
A trip down memory lane
released OUT NOW! 115 minutes | CD/ download
Publisher Big Finish
Hard as it may be to believe now, there was a time when Mark Gatiss wasn’t a hugely successful writer/ performer turning up in everything from Sherlock to Wolf Hall. Back in 1992 he made his first official foray into the world of Doctor Who with spin- off novel Nightshade; now it’s the latest book to get a Big Finish audio adaptation.
The story sees the Doctor ( Sylvester McCoy) considering retirement as he and Ace ( Sophie Aldred) visit the village of Crook Marsham in 1968. Life isn’t quiet for long though, as retired actor Edmund Trevithick is seeing alien creatures from his old BBC show Nightshade come to life. Soon the village is being plagued by a terrifying force that feeds on memories.
The narrative style owes much to 1989 TV story “The Curse Of Fenric”, Gatiss’s love of old- school horror is in full effect and there are some lovely references to the Quatermass serials of the ’ 50s. The adaptation captures the book’s downbeat tone but struggles with the more visual sequences and some overwrought emotional drama, leaving Nightshade as a flawed showcase of both the strengths and the weaknesses of the McCoy era.
The novel mentions a Dr Shearsmith and a Mr Pemberton – named for two of Gatiss’s League Of Gentlemen co- stars.