I wasn’t too enthused by the 2019 Sixth Doctor and Peri trilogy; this Christmas collection, Blood on Santa’s Claw and Other Stories I found rather good. Sixie, Peri plus boyfriend, new writers and Nev Fountain. It’s a treat from first to last. Four stories with a Christmas connection – let’s dive in!
Christmas with the Doctor
Blood on Santa’s Claw by Alan Terigo
The Doctor, Peri and Joe land on the planet Naxios, where they discover the body of Father Christmas.
Who killed him? The strange individuals dressed in Shakespearian costume or the talking animals wearing waistcoats digging in the tunnels?
The Baby Awakes by Susan Dennom
The Doctor, Peri and Joe visit the Ishtar institute, where the term ‘designer babies’ takes on a new and sinister meaning. Will our heroes survive Christmas day?
I Wish It Could Be Christmas Every Day by Andrew Lias
A Christmas party that’s been going on for three years. Strange silver robots who guard the Christmas decorations with lethal force. What is the secret behind the festivities on Tate Galactic?
Brightly Shone The Moon That Night by Nev Fountain
The TARDIS crew encounters a shameful secret of the Time Lords. History has been rewritten, and this time it’s all the Doctor’s fault.
Off to work we go
Alan Terigo sets up a strange world reminiscent of Lewis Carol only with a dead Santa! Who could replace him? Who would wear such a striking jacket?
New boyfriend Joe has little to do as we learn of a world of slavery, mining for metal and religious extremes. Can the Doctor save the day before it’s too late? Who exactly is in charge?
It’s a fun tale, a good mix of strange and entertaining and like all the set only half a CD in length.
In this emotionally packed story writer Susan Dennom brings us to a future world of designer babies and a chance to learn about Joe’s attitude to parenting.
There’s a very dark story underneath a tale of personal grief and Nicola Bryant is exceptional. I was very moved by this and felt Peri suffered a lot by the end. The resolution takes the story in a strange direction and leaves little choice for the Doctor. Plenty of great material here and I look forward to more from Susan.
Mistletoe and Wine
Party time in space. Christmas for three years or more. Strange robot servants. Andrew Lias gets to show us a lot more about Joe, gives us a puzzle and completely wrongfoots the listener (if my experience is anything to go by). It builds mystery, adds characters and actually hides a few big clues in plain sight. Cue the big finale!
Cue Nev Fountain and what seems to be a part 2 to the Andrew Lias story is in fact a massive over-arching epic linking all the stories together. Things I’d taken as background details were part of a big piece with Time Lord mythology, more trauma for Peri and a lesson for the Doctor. Doing the right thing without knowledge of a bigger picture may be a mistake.
As ever it’s very clever and very, very well delivered. Well directed, well performed and sizzling with originality.
Merry Christmas one and all!