So, thanks to Colin’s time in the jungle, I acquired a copy of the much rated Peri and the Piscon Paradox. I quickly realised that this was exceptionally good value being a double-CD release – I am not aware of any other Companion Chronicles being more than one disc.
Inevitably I pondered before listening – knowing it was extremely popular put me in the contrary position of worrying that I might end up not liking it. So, what did I think…
Disc 1 is told from the point of view of young Peri travelling with the Fifth Doctor. She travels to Los Angeles 2009 to help defeat an evil Piscon who is trying to steal the Earth’s water, or something. Unexpectedly she meets up with her older self who is now a secret agent (for the X-files no less). By the end of the story finds that she despises the woman she has become and vows not to become her. The story is a bit odd with a weird concept of reincarnated fish people desperate to die to become human and I found it all rather strange and not that wonderful at all. Then we turn to disc 2!
We now get the same story from the point of view of older Peri. This is very different from our expectations and is hard to cover without massive amounts of spoilers. Suffice it to say that here she has a co-star in the form of Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor making this a much more complex piece than is normal for this range. All the oddities from the disc 1 adventure become clear and more besides. We also tackle the central mystery – how is Peri alive and well in Los Angeles given the events of Trial of a Time Lord?
We discover that Peri’s time-line has become very ‘interesting’ which is why when the Fifth Doctor and gets younger and older Peri to touch there is no Blinovitch Limitation Effect and in particular no explosion! We also learn of other Peri’s and have some very dark scenes before the tale concludes.
This John Ainsworth directed tale is well delivered. Nicola plays the whole of the first disc (just about) as both young Peri, older Peri, her assistant and then (in her real voice) the Fifth Doctor. She shows her range and carries it without any apparent challenge. Emotion is well realised and all the usual production values apply.
The use of another Doctor as the narrative counterpoint (most CCs are companion + someone else) works very well and the split over two discs is tremendous as the story goes up several gears as we start disc 2.
Yes this is a very good release, one of the essential listens but is it one of the very best? I’m not sure – the darker side of older Peri’s life is unpleasant, probably necessarily so but does upset, so well is it delivered.
What did you think?