Books & Literature

Audiobook Review: The Fourth Doctor Adventures Series 8 Vol 2, by Big Finish

The Doctor, K-9 and their new companion, Anne Kelso, track down the Sinestrans on the planet Kembel.

A thrilling ride with a plot twist you won’t see coming.

Tom Baker’s Fourth Doctor concludes his eighth series of Fourth Doctor Adventures and it is a thrilling ride with a plot twist you, more than likely, won’t see coming.

Following directly on from the first volume of Series 8, it sees the Doctor (played to perfection once again by Tom Baker) and his new companion, Anne Kelso (played with enormous range by the brilliant Jane Slavin) tracking down the Sinestrans on the planet Kembel (the setting for the epic Hartnell-era serial The Daleks’ Masterplan). Long-term fans of the series will recognise many of the names of the aliens here. The Doctor, Anne and K-9 find themselves up against a deadly syndicate of killers who are not only hellbent on running the galaxy, but also on exacting revenge on the Doctor.

Director Nicholas Briggs directs some of his best work in this set and he is aided by four wonderfully exciting scripts from Guy Adams, Jonathan Barnes and John Dorney. The first story, Time’s Assassin, moves along at a fair clip but is bogged down by some rather over-the-top and hammy acting from Jon Culshaw (who seems to have been given a little too much free reign by the director). The second story, Fever Island, is perhaps the most unconventional of the four stories and the least linked to the main story arc. It is quite fun and enjoyable for the most part, even if the ending leaves a little to be desired. The four-part finale, The Perfect Prisoners, ramps the excitement up by several notches and has an absolutely heartbreaking conclusion. Each other story is told over two half-hour episodes making the stories more digestible for time-poor listeners.

Another top-drawer supporting cast helps lift these stories as well as supporting the main performances superbly. Standouts include John Leeson (K-9), Carolyn Seymour (The Commodore/ Mrs Kidd), Barnaby Edwards (Desmond Kettley) and the magnificent voice of Ronan Vibert as Zaal. Jamie Robertson needs to be commended for exceptional work on the music and sound design.

There are bonus interviews with the cast and crew which, as in previous volumes, show the joy and enthusiasm the entire cast and crew have in making these audios.

This has been an outstanding pair of releases from the Big Finish team and it serves the legacy of the Fourth Doctor well. A worthwhile listen for fans of either the classic series or the new series of Doctor Who and also a worthy introduction to the world of Big Finish audio.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: February 2019
RRP: $46.50 CD, $20 Digital Download

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