David Bartlett’s script for the third story in this set takes us back firmly to the simpler storytelling of the Troughton era – which may come as something of a disappointment after the complexities that previous Companion Chronicles set in this closing part of the 1960s (particularly those dealing with Zoe) have had. It’s not helped by an odd decision to have Wendy Padbury narrate some scenes as an outside observer, and the rest of the time as Zoe – the point of view change isn’t always immediately clear.
The idea behind this is turning the “base under siege” idea on its head, and this element works, with Bartlett explaining in the extras that he also took advantage of such changes to get away from the trope of the head of the base imploding under pressure. The reversal continues with the character point being made that Jamie shouldn’t think that every alien race they encounter is going to be hostile, but I’m not sure where that development fits into the way we see the character on screen. There are some very heavy-handed political points made, but not enough time is devoted to the potential ramifications of this sort of dangerous gameplay (unlike the recent Dangerous Visions story on a similar theme).
Frazer Hines and Padbury give strong performances as the Doctor, Jamie, Zoe and the other people on the base, and the audio is well-produced, but other than the “turn it inside out” concept, there’s not much to make this one stand out.
Verdict: A clever idea that isn’t as developed as much as it could have been. 6/10