There’s a new companion, Marc, in the TARDIS so just like old times for the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. It’s fair to say Adric’s ghost hovers across this trilogy but (as we shall learn) it’s no bad thing. Producer Scott Handcock also shakes things up with two writing debuts and a brace of two-part stories, Interstitial / Feast of Fear. It all works rather well…
Interstitial / Feast of Fear
First is Interstitial and writer Carl Rowens also has a story in the upcoming Class 3. The synopsis is minimal but sets the scene:
When the TARDIS is drawn off-course by temporal disruption, the Doctor and his companions discover a research facility conducting dangerous experiments. But how do you fight the future when time itself is being used as a weapon?
I don’t know what else Carl has done but this story shows a great grasp of both time travel (as used in Doctor Who) and story-telling in general. The usual splitting the TARDIS team up to tell the tale works well and the other characters (the inevitable messianic scientist and assistant) are well conceived.
New companion Marc (first seen with Cicero in Tartarus) gets enough to do and it’s all very entertaining.
Second story Feast of Fear is the first writer Martyn Waites has done for Big Finish. Here’s the synopsis:
At the height of the Irish famine, a carnival travels the country bringing cheer to all they encounter. But it also brings something else along with them… and it already has the Doctor.
A story set in the Irish famine with the word feast in the title demands attention. Sadly the whole famine element is window dressing as the tale is a more conventional alien menace needs defeating. The setting means lots of Irish accents and character names. I happen to have spent a lot of time in Ireland but I do wonder if others less familiar with the accent may have had problems separating the characters on audio. It’s a minor thought.
Where the story works and works extremely well is in starting in the middle and having both the Doctor and Nyssa very out of character. Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton are both excellent in this story and Tegan gets to both support Marc and confront a possessed Nyssa. The scene where they argue is powerful and once more emphasises how good the original TV run for this team might have been.
It’s a strong pair of stories after what, for me, was a weak start for this trilogy.