The 2020 Fourth Doctor Adventures expand the period when the Doctor, Romana, K9 and Adric were trapped in e-Space. January gave us two stories each taking two discs – very much the form of four classic TV episodes. First of these is a strong Marc Platt tale – Purgatory 12.
Here’s the Big Finish synopsis:
Still searching for a way out of E-Space, the TARDIS crew land on an isolated space rock… and immediately find it drawn towards a nearby asteroid.
The asteroid has air and gravity unequal to its size and is strewn with the wrecks of spaceships. Veins and pools of rust are everywhere.
Stuck on the asteroid away from his friends, Adric discovers that it’s a penal colony housing a gang of alien convicts – but resources are low, and they’re starting to starve.
But escaping the prisoners is only the first part of the traveller’s troubles. Because there’s a sinister presence at the heart of the asteroid… and it won’t release them quite as easily.
Every time I listen to a Marc Platt story I’m struck by how well he can build a convincingly alien world in a short space of time (aided by the cast/ directions / sound work). In this case it’s a strange asteroid world with even stranger inhabitants. There’s classic defeat the monster / rescue the locals at work but more than that an exploration of Adric’s relationship with the Doctor.
Adric and the Doctor argue, Adric leaves the TARDIS but no sooner have the Doctor, Romana and K9 determined to find him again, he is in a new life on the penal world of Purgatory 12.
The story is populated with a strangle alien, some fresh characters and creepy ideas about death I won’t spoil.
We know it has to end well, but Marc does a good job of placing most of the heroes in serious peril, and K9 in particular suffers a lot – I get a brownie point for spotting the solution before the reveal!
Overall Purgatory 12 is a good start to this year’s Fourth Doctor titles and bodes well.