Back in the distant days of 2008, when the Big Finish main range still came with a free single-disc adventure for subscribers, the fifth [but labelled vi] such gift was Return to the Web Planet. It’s a Fifth Doctor story with Nysaa, written by Daniel o’Mahony (who also wrote some early Bernice Summerfield) and as the title suggests, provides a chance to once again meet the Zarbi and the Menoptera. It’s really rather good and worth looking out for as a bargain. Let’s consider further…
Return to the Web Planet
It’s a small cast story focussing on a Menoptera scientist, Acheron (Sam Kelly), his daughter, Hedyla (Julie Buckfiled), a stray human male, Yanesh (Matther Noble) and a strange human woman known as the Speaker (Claire Wyatt) who believes herself to be a Zarbi.
Dragged to Vortis by yet another strange force, the story allows a chance to understand Menopetera society better and also brings in a mystery as to just who the two human strangers on Vortis are and what they presence means. The story gives both Nyssa and the Doctor a decent piece of the puzzle, lets the Doctor make some mistakes and finds a solution to conflict without having to resort to violence.
Under Barnaby Edwards’s direction the pacing is very pleasing and when the story ends, the Doctor considers staying on Vortis for a while for a proper holiday. Having listened to Return to the Web Planet I’m inclined to agree.
With the recent (March 2019) focus on linking in the most individual parts of Doctor Who history as a way of marking twenty years of the licence, I have to wonder if Big Finish might return again to Vortis one day. Having enjoyed this, I do hope so!