As the latest run of Fourth Doctor Adventures comes towards its conclusion, Marc Platt brings us part one of the finale in the form of Skin of the Sleek. It gives us a strange new world, and an academy friend of Romana’s — Sartia (Joannah Tincey) and the sleeks, the giant eels of the title.
It’s a great story — why? Let’s chat…
Under the Skin of the Sleek
The product page sets the scene:
On the planet Funderell you can walk on the ocean. The surface holds you when you move, but if you stand still, you sink. Lights shift in the fathoms and great shapes move beneath your feet – schools of giant electric eels known as Sleeks.
There is no solid land and the only locals are the Wavewalkers, hunters who live in floating villages. But recently some strangers have arrived, pursuing their own distinct agenda.
When the Doctor and Romana lose the TARDIS to the deep, they need help. Which makes finding a fellow Time Lord on the planet very useful. The fact that Time Lord is Sartia, an old friend of Romana’s, is even better!
But this is a planet of secrets. Be careful when you explore its depths. You may just drown.
My immediate reaction to the start of Skin of the Sleek was to be impressed at the amount of world-building Marc Platt has put into this tale. Not just the strange planet, it’s inhabitants, a mystery and a curious collection of individuals, but also the whole sound. Everything from the tone of voice of the Wavewalkers, to the soundscaping of Jamie Roberston and Jamie’s music makes this feel like a big well-rounded and in some sense real world.
The basic events of encounters, mistrust and narrow escapes takes our attention, but the Nordic style Wavewalkers (played by Des McAleer, Alex Wyndham, Jamie Newall and Jane Slavin) really captivate, so much so the listener can get lost in the narrative and almost miss the plot. The extras make the Richard Burton Under Milk Wood clear, and are worth a listen as well. I suspect director Ken Bentley deserves plenty of credit for the impact of the vocals as well as the cast.
If there is a complaint with this story, it’s having to wait a month for the resolution in The Thief Who Stole Time. I can’t wait!