DOCTOR WHO: THE GENESIS CHAMBER Going easy on the gothic
released OUT NOW! 185 minutes | Cd/download
Publisher Big Finish
The mid-’70s reign of Philip Hinchcliffe as producer of Doctor Who has long been seen as one of the high points in the programme’s history. Now, two years on from its first Philip Hinchcliffe Presents release, Big Finish has delivered another new Hinchcliffe story, but this one is far from the richly gothic style most fans will be expecting.
Instead, The Genesis Chamber is closer in tone to the few purely SF stories he oversaw, like 1977’s “The Face Of Evil”. The action begins when the Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker) and Leela (Louise Jameson) arrive on a distant colony world where humans are split between a sophisticated technological city and a primitive commune.
Alien forces are manipulating the tensions between the two groups, and the story’s initial build-up is effective and intriguing, but the final reveal lacks impact and leaves the story feeling over-stretched at six episodes.
Baker and Jameson are as impressive as ever, and there are strong moments of action and melodrama – it’s just a shame The Genesis Chamber ends up as a reminder of the Hinchcliffe era’s weaknesses as well as its strengths. Saxon Bullock
Hinchcliffe outlined the basic story, characters and tone, but the rest was done by Marc Platt (“Ghost Light”).