In recent weeks I’ve been studying the way in which certain intelligence agencies around the world manipulated events to produce the outcome that they wanted – notably in Italy in 1948 and Iran in 1953. Any other students of modern political history will recognise the source of some of Eddie Robson’s inspiration for this terrific thriller, which achieves what a lot of blockbusters claim: it plays on a large canvas, with major action sequences and events, while still maintaining some private and intimate moments.
As with last month’s story, this plays to the characters’ strengths. We’re not surprised when Turlough acts the way he does partway through – nor are we overly shocked when we learn the real reasons behind his actions. Tegan is far more than just the “mouth on legs” that she puts herself down for being at times – she’s far more in control than that. Nyssa has moved on from the young scientist of her earlier stories, but with that maturity has come wisdom. And the Doctor still hopes for the best and will jump in, even when things seem hopeless.
The nature of the alien menace is nicely revealed, both within the story, and in its realisation on audio, thanks to a good combination of Philip Pope’s performance and Ken Bentley’s direction.
It all adds up to a well-paced, well-produced story. 8/10