Audiobook Review: Doctor Who #246: The Hunting Ground, by Big Finish

An investigation of a murder leads not only to aliens hunting humans for sport, but to a wider conspiracy by the human government that allows it to happen.

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December’s release in the Doctor Who main range is a thriller set in Iceland and featuring the sixth incarnation of the Doctor, played by Colin Baker.

Written by acclaimed thriller author A K Benedict, the story revolves around an investigation of a murder that leads not only to aliens hunting humans for sport but to a wider conspiracy by the human government that allows it to happen. It is clear Benedict understands the thriller genre but has yet to fully meld that into an exciting Doctor Who story relying on tropes that do not work in the science fiction (or audio) setting.

Baker delivers his Doctor’s performance with the polish we have come to expect and he is joined in this tale by his faux-companion, Yrsa (played by Amy Beth Hayes). It is unclear at this point whether there will be any further adventures with these two but the partnership still seems a little unsettled and there is little chemistry between the two characters.

Director John Ainsworth has assembled a good cast of supporting actors which includes Michael Griffiths (The Hunter/Kristjan), Harriet Collings (Frida), Margaret Ashley (Ingrid), Malcolm James (Sigdor), Richard Reed (Constable), Joe Jameson (Left Marfick/Receptionist), and Will Hislop (Right Marfick/Pathologist). Jameson and Hislop provide some mild comic relief in the form of a two-headed accountant at first, but after a while their banter becomes incredibly grating.

The action plods along and there is not much in the way of unpredictability or freshness here although the sound mix and music by Steve Foxon are, again, excellently utilised.

There is the bonus of a music suite of incidental music from the story and a brief interview with the writer and cast included with the release.

Whilst it is good to see the Doctor travelling to various locations that he couldn’t visit during the TV show, the story fails to truly ignite the listener’s interest over the 4 episodes. There seems to be more padding than there should be for a shorter audio such as this one.

One for the completists.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Rating out of 10: 6

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: December 2018
RRP: $27 CD, $13 Digital Download

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