Okay, please let this be the final story to feature Nerva Beacon and/or its alternate uses for the next few years. What with Wirrn Dawn for the Eighth Doctor, Destination: Nerva for the Fourth and now this for the Sixth, the various elements have been plundered sufficiently. It’s beginning to get like New Earth was for the 10th Doctor!
But the concept goes out on a high. This is a classic base under siege story, suitably reworked for the Sixth Doctor. William Gallagher’s script starts with a claustrophobic opening episode then expands the canvas across the rest, so that by the time you reach the end and realise the scope of the problem, it feels like an organic development. Similarly, the characters’ growth doesn’t feel forced on to the story, as it can sometimes do – the theme of what you’ll do for family (and what defines family) are sufficiently stated without being rammed down the listener’s throat.
There are some nice nods to Robert Holmes’ world-building, both in The Ark in Space and The Sontaran Experiment, with the characters’ accents reflecting both the received pronunciation of the Nerva inhabitants, as well as the GalSec’s more colonial roots.
Partnering him with Flip has brought out a different side to the Sixth Doctor, and it will be interesting to contrast his behaviour with other companions later this year…
Verdict: A well-paced, well-produced finale to the latest Sixth Doctor trilogy. 7/10