Monday, September 10, 2012

Big Finish - Return of the Krotons

A bonus release from December 2009 - Return of the Krotons, written and directed by Nicholas Briggs.

The Sixth Doctor and Charley Pollard find themselves on a planet that is being mined by a group of survivors from a generational colony ship. But there is something very strange about the crystalline material they are digging out of the rocks, and deep in the mines something is reawakening.

One of the great advantages of audio drama is that it gives the writers a much broader canvas than the original television series ever had. And it means that monsters that seemed a bit silly on the small screen can be reinvented to sinister effect. So the original Krotons that went up against Patrick Troughton's second Doctor become much more menacing monsters for Colin Baker and India Fisher. It is neatly handled by Nicholas Briggs whose love of the original series shines through this script while he updates the threat level for a modern audience.

This is the first adventure I have listened to that pairs Charley Pollard with the Sixth Doctor and it is slightly confusing. As far as I know Charley first met the Doctor in his eighth incarnation on board the R101 in Storm Warning. So how the Sixth can be travelling with her and then not remember meeting her in 1930 raises some continuity problems which, I have no doubt, are explained somewhere else. But as I have hinted at before I don't get too hung up about this. The timeline of Doctor Who stories in the Big Finish universe is so long and convoluted that I am quite happy to ignore continuity glitches as long as the stories are good. And this one is pretty good.

Baker and Fisher are as good as ever and there are two other star performances to mention. Philip Madoc had a long and illustrious association with Doctor Who and this was his last role with Big Finish before his death earlier this year. He had a fantastic voice for a villain and it was great to listen to him here, and to hear him being interviewed by David Richardson in the CD extras. And as the voice of the Krotons themselves Nicholas Briggs manages to make the slightly silly mechanical voices from the 1960s sound suitably creepy.

An entertaining short story from Big Finish that gets 3.5 out of 5 Kroton teaching machines. Next I follow Charley back (or forwards?) to the Eighth Doctor in The Stones of Venice.

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