DOC­TOR WHO: NIGHT­SHADE

A trip down mem­ory lane

SFX: The Sci-Fi and Fantasy Magazine - - Reviews - Saxon Bul­lock

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.

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