Nicholas “I'm the voice of both the Daleks and the Cybermen, suckers” Briggs has been doing Doctor Who audio adventures for a very long time. A very long time indeed.
So it shouldn't be absolutely surprising that despite the presence of Sylvester McCoy, the lack of any onscreen companion and the presence of former Bond girl Maryam D'Abo doing a really bad French accent, his latest writing project, Frozen Time, is actually a bit of corker.
I guess you could write a receipe of sorts about it: take one nifty sci-fi idea (Antarctica explorers unearth/un-ice a Police Box that's been buried for millions of years and a mysterious man who starts to wake up), an old Doctor Who monster (not telling, so as not to spoil) and a healthy (not unhealthy) wodge of continuity, a relatively pacey plot, flashbacks and a tried and tested case of amnesia and you have a rather enjoyable way of spending your time.
Plot (dug up from the Big Finish web site)
In 1929, Lord Barset's expedition to the Antarctic is lost without trace. Or so it seems?��Ǩ��
Nearly a century later, his grandson funds a much-publicized return to the icy wastes. His mission: to discover what happened to the original expedition. But what he finds instead is an enigma ?��Ǩ��� a battered London police box frozen in ice millennia old.
But something else lies in wait in this awful place, something from an era before humankind set foot on the continent's cold soil. A menace frozen in time.
Is it any good?
It's fine. A really enjoyable piece of trad Doctor Who. All the tickboxes are checked. All the trad characters are there. It doesn't go too over the top. Nice.
Part of the cleverness comes from the fact it knows what you know. It knows you know all the Doctor Who monsters and that the Doctor will slowly recover from his amnesia, so you know what to expect. The tension in the story comes from the same place as The Thing (From Another World)'s - you know what's going to happen when the aliens emerge (and you know what alien is going to emerge, too): you're just waiting for the big reveal to feel how clever you are. And it doesn't disappoint.
In fact, there's a complete throwaway moment where Briggs flips that expectation through 180?Ǭ? and suggests another old school alien might have been around in an adventure that you would no doubt like to hear, too, and that you simply overlooked the possibility. There's even a whole load of adventures hinted at in the story's conclusion, that we'll probably never hear, either.
On the downside, the supporting cast is pretty rubbish with a couple of exceptions, and McCoy is on the best form he can muster. But it's one of the best Big Finishes in quite some time.
Asking price: ?Ǭ�14.99
Actual worth: ?Ǭ�9.99 or you could barter a figurine of the Hamburglar
Listen to a trailer (Windows Media Player format)
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor)
Anthony Calf (Lord Barset)
Maryam d'Abo (Genevieve)
Tony Millan (Professor McIntyre)
Gwynn Beech (Harman)
Gregg Newton (Ben)
Nicholas Briggs (Arakssor)
Writer: Nicholas Briggs
Director: Barnaby Edwards
Available from the appallingly re-designed Big Finish web site