With neither fuss nor fanfare, the Big Finish main range clocks up 250 releases with the Matt Fitton story Monsters of Gokroth. It’s a Seventh Doctor story and the first in a new trilogy for the Doctor and werewolf companion Mags, last seen on TV in The Greatest Show in the Galaxy. If not the most obvious choice for a set of stories, there’s plenty of potential and like the Kamelion and Fifth Doctor trilogy we had before, it’s a good way to explore a character by examining the extremes of their definition.
Monsters of Gokroth
With a werewolf around in the form of Mags, why not place here on a planet (Gokroth) where the natives are threatened by monsters from the woods. There’s also an alien scientist (Dr Maleeva played by Victoria Yeates) conducting experiments in her castle, a signal for help and Varron (Jeremy Hitchen) with experience in dealing with monsters.
The first part is a strong piece of world-building (and very different in tone from a lot of Matt’s recent new-series work) with great performances, direction by Samuel Clemens and sound work / music by Andy Hardwick.
As the story emerges, it’s easy (and lazy) to pigeon hole it as evil scientist cross between Drs Moreau and Frankenstein but female. This never quote convinces and as various twists emerge, none of them really surprises. While true, the thrust of this story is personality, fear of the different, prejudice and greed. These are all strong drives and well used in this tale of opportunism, exploitation and failure to communicate.
It all ends mostly well, and Mags hops on the TARDIS for the next two stories. It’s a solid adventure, Jessica Martin is good on audio and I’m optimistic for next month’s story.