Review: Doctor Who – The Skull of Sobek

The Skull of SobekZzzzz. Zzzzz.

Oh hello. I didn’t see you there. Was I asleep? Sorry.

Right. A review of the new Big Finish eighth Doctor/Lucie Miller play, The Skull of Sobek.

The Skull of Sobek is set…

Zzzz. Zzzz. Zzzz.

Oh, I’m sorry. Did I fall asleep just then? How rude. Let’s try again.

The Skull of Sobek is set…

Zzzz. Zzzz. Zzzz.

Oh dear. I did it again, didn’t I? Right. Back in a minute after I’ve knocked back a pack of Pro Plus. I can see this is the only way I’m going to be able to get through it.


Too much perfection’s dangerous.

On the isolated planet of Indigo 3, far out in the wastes of the Blue Desert, lies the Sanctuary of Imperfect Symmetry. It is a place of contemplation and reflection. It is also a place of death.

Something from another time, from another world, has found its way inside the hallowed walls. Something with a leathery hide, a long snout and sharp pointy teeth.

Tick tock. Here comes the crocodile…

Is it any good?

It’s a real snoozefest, I’m afraid. I was quite shocked to see all that talent going to waste. Art Malik and Barbara Flynn? Marc Platt? Barnaby Edwards? What’s going on here? How could it have fallen so flat?

The real problem is the script. It’s like a Dungeon & Dragons game written by a 12-year-old. As a result, the plot gets reduced to a load of actors putting on silly voices as they’re possessed by crocodiles – do they prepare for that in RADA? “Sheridan, darling, I know we’ve just been growing from small acorns into great big trees, but now I want you to be a crocodile. A fighting crocodile with a great big mace. Can you do that for me, darling? Lovely.”

Art and Barbara are hamming it up a bit, since they have nothing much to do except pretend to be religious as their sole defining character trait. Sheridan Smith has been entrusted with some recently recovered Ace lines, excavated from a time capsule buried in 1989: she does her best, but there’s only so much polish you can add to a t*rd. You can hear Paul McGann sniffing the ink on his pay cheque in between lines (of dialogue).

It’s just plain awful, bar the occasional titter-worthy line. Was Platt simply trying to go in the opposite direction from his normally colossally over-written stuff? Or did he only have a few days to write it in? Maybe he can’t cope with the short story length required of these Eighth Doctor/Lucie plays.

Still, the good thing about it is that since it’s only 55 minutes, you can listen to it on the train to the gym, on the cross-trainer behind someone who’s almost certainly Matt Berry, and during a 2k row, and you’ll be done and ready for a 5k run and Sapphire and Steel – Second Sight. What do you mean that last bit’s not a good thing?

How much should you have to pay?

Actual price: £10.99 (£8.99 download)

Actual worth: £0 (don’t even bother stealing it)


Paul McGann (The Doctor)

Sheridan Smith (Lucie Miller)

Art Malik (Abbot Absolute)

Barbara Flynn (Sister Chalice)

Giles Watling (The Old Prince)

Sean Biggerstaff (Snabb)

Mikey O’Connor (Dannahill)

Katarina Olsson (Sister Thrift)

Writer: Marc Platt

Director: Barnaby Edwards

Available from or from the progressively improving Big Finish web site


  • Rob Buckley

    I’m Rob Buckley, a journalist who writes for UK media magazines that most people have never heard of although you might have heard me on the podcast Lockdown Land or Radio 5 Live’s Saturday Edition or Afternoon Edition. I’ve edited Dreamwatch, Sprocket and Cambridge Film Festival Daily; been technical editor for TV producers magazine Televisual; reviewed films for the short-lived newspaper Cambridge Insider; written features for the even shorter-lived newspaper Soho Independent; and was regularly sarcastic about television on the blink-and-you-missed-it “web site for urban hedonists” The Tribe. Since going freelance, I've contributed to the likes of Broadcast, Total Content + Media, Action TV, Off The Telly, Action Network, TV Scoop and The Custard TV.

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