Omitting The Tomb of the Cybermen (which of course is about to get a full overhaul as part of the Revisitations 3 DVD Box Set next month), this continues the run of Patrick Troughton’s early stories, the majority of which remain absent from the archives.
It’s a mixed collection: The Macra Terror benefits from its own overhaul, with John Nathan-Turner’s narration read by Colin Baker replaced with Robert Ayres’ more scene-accurate commentary provided by Anneke Wills. (AudioGo’s Michael Stevens told Sci-Fi Bulletin that “It was changed to bring it into line with our other narrated soundtrack releases, with a linking script recording by a series companion (Anneke Wills) rather than a Doctor (Colin Baker). Over the years we have had many requests for this to be done, and the release of The Lost TV Episodes Collection 4 seemed like a good time to do it.”). It’s the last of the three cassette stories to receive this treatment (the two Troughton Dalek tales were changed ages ago) and, although the story itself degenerates in its second half, it’s a definite improvement.
All the other stories are narrated by Frazer Hines, and he makes a good job of it. The Faceless Ones isn’t one of the better Troughton stories, feeling padded to reach its six part length, although it’s interesting to hear Pauline Collins’ Sam Briggs and ponder how different the show might have been if she had become a companion.
The other three stories – Evil of the Daleks, The Abominable Snowmen and The Ice Warriors – are legendary. They may be as padded as The Faceless Ones, but somehow they never feel that way. They’re 45 years old this year, but in many ways remain as fresh as the most recent TV series.
Verdict: As with all of these collections, if you’re a fan and you haven’t got a version of these stories, then this is an absolute must-buy – and the pdfs of the scripts may well be sufficient reason for many to purchase this. 8/10