Nigel Fairs makes a foray into Lost Episodes Season 23 territory with this compact and well-characterised adventure that uses continuity to good effect. It’s clearly set post-Revelation of the Daleks (there are references to Necros) while the Doctor and Peri are still to an extent at each other’s throats. Telling the story from Peri’s perspective allows Fairs to bring out the conflicted feelings that the young American has about her travelling companion – as well as acknowledging that she is no longer the teenager that he met on Lanzarote. (Which, given the huge number of adventures that have been slotted in between Planet of Fire and the end of Season 22 by Big Finish, is sensible!) There’s a nice nudging of the characters towards the broadcast Season 23 relationship within the tale, that you can easily imagine Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant enjoying on screen.
Bryant seems to relish the opportunities the story provides, slipping easily between her own narrator voice, Peri, a clearly recognisable Sixth Doctor, and a number of other characters, one of whom is modelled on a certain familiar monarch! Steve Foxon’s sound design helps to sell the visual aspects of the tale, and while this is one of the longest of the current batch of short trips, the time speeds past thanks to slick direction from Lisa Bowerman.
Verdict: More plot-driven than some of Fairs’ tales, this is a great example of the Short Trip format. 9/10