“Hello, bottom of the barrel. Big Finish here. We’ve come to scrape you.”
There was an almost a point to the Lost Stories range. Adapt the Doctor Who TV scripts that for one reason never got made into shows and turn them into audio plays with as much of the original cast as possible.
That’s fair enough.
Yet here we are on just the sixth entry in the range and what do we have? A script written by Marc Platt based on a one-page A5 story outline created by Barbara Clegg (Enlightenment) for a season or other that Big Finish can’t quite determine, for a Doctor and companion equally undetermined.
At this point, surely we have to say, is this truly a lost story if it never even got beyond the pitching stage?
Quibbling aside, do you really want to hear Christopher Marlowe getting inspiration for Doctor Faustus from some Aztec gods?
The 16th Century. Playwright Kit Marlowe is attempting to write Doctor Faustus when a darkness descends on his life, in the cadaverous form of a Spaniard called Velez. The monstrosity is in search of a stone blade that was brought from South America…
After a near-disastrous collision with an asteroid in space, the TARDIS makes an emergency landing in Elizabethan England.
These two events are connected. The Omnim are ready. And the point of entry approaches…
Is it any good?
It’s all a bit tedious, really. As with anything Marc Platt writes these days, it’s very well researched – and he makes sure you know it because he shows it off with every line. It’s all very over-written and pretentious – a little simplicity would go a long way with a Platt script.
But, on top of that, we have standard Who cruft: tedious aliens in a tedious plan to unite the two halves of a magic talisman – is this Doctor Who or Dungeons & Dragons? – aided by a Spanish guy and Christopher Marlowe, who does of course sell his soul to the devil/aliens. There’s all sorts of numpty talk about minerals, rocks that may or may not be sentient, and vibrations. Peri gets possessed and has to do “comedic” impersonations of a/the Queen.
The direction doesn’t help either. But the cast aren’t half bad, even if Nicola Bryant seems to be losing the will to live in this one.
It’s pretty bad. Nothing on a Mission to Magnus scale, but nothing that makes you think your £15 or so wouldn’t have been better spent on a CliffNotes about Christopher Marlowe instead.
Colin Baker (The Doctor)
Nicola Bryant (Peri)
Matt Addis (Kit Marlowe)
Luis Soto (Velez)
Sean Connolly (Iguano/Captain Garland)
Tam Williams (Tom)
Gemma Wardle (Alys)
Ian Brooker (Sir Francis Walsingham)
Writers: Barbara Clegg and Marc Platt
Director: John Ainsworth