Sunday, August 5, 2012

Big Finish - The Harvest

Big Finish release 54 from June 2004 - The Harvest by Dan Abnett, directed by Gary Russell.

Leaving the perils of Evelyn Smythe and the Sixth Doctor to one side for the moment this is a Seventh Doctor story which introduces a new companion. It is 2021 and Thomas Hector Schofield, or Hex for short, is reporting for work as a nurse at St Gart's hospital in London. It is also his birthday but the celebrations do not go according to plan and when he saves a mysterious young woman from an attack he finds himself caught up with the Doctor and Ace and their investigation into a secretive medical research project.

This is quite an entertaining story indeed. I certainly enjoyed the Doctor and Ace as a team of paranormal investigators, with Ace as the on the ground agent and the Doctor as the computer hacker and co-ordinator. The villain is not given away by the above cover image or the cast list so I won't reveal the identity either. Suffice it to say that the reveal when it comes manages to make perfect sense and still be surprising. I am not sure about the character of Hex yet but I know he is going to be important in some upcoming stories including the very latest mini-series from Big Finish.

It almost goes without saying how good the cast and the production are. I was particularly impressed by Richard Derrington as Doctor Farrer, his voice sounds like a young Bernard Cribbens. So much so that I began to wonder whether Big Finish could somehow manage to bring his character of Tom Campbell, from the Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 film, into their version of the Whoniverse.

The writer Dan Abnett is quite well known for his comic books and he does a terrific job with this story. I do  not know if he is done other Big Finish stories but I will be looking out for them. Likewise the director, Gary Russell, is well known for his long association with Doctor Who in all its different forms. There are some medical errors in this drama which you would expect me to pick up on. If Big Finish should happen to need a free medical consultant for their writers I would be happy to help out!

The Harvest is a terrific Big Finish episode that gets a high flying 4 out of 5 on the Tardis console. Next up will be a return of the Sixth Doctor and Evelyn, and a story featuring the body snatchers Burke and Hare - Medicinal Purposes.

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