Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 165: The Burning Prince

Failing to make his rendezvous with Tegan and Nyssa in Amsterdam, the Doctor finds himself on an unusual peace mission – and then in a struggle for survival.

Disaster movies don’t usually do much for me – they’re so often predictable, and even the Kylie Minogue episode (Voyage of the Damned) a few years back was one of those stories that I’ve watched when it was on initially but not felt the need to return to. However John Dorney has penned a disaster movie for audio, which starts at a rapid pace, and only speeds up as it goes on.

As has been pointed out, put the Doctor in a situation without one of the set companions (even one of Big Finish’s own creations), and all bets are off. Alfred Hitchcock pulled a trick off in Psycho which is echoed here (since that film has quite a few, I’m not going to explain further) and the one thing you can be certain of is that not everyone is going to come out alive at the end of this story.

There are lots of nice touches: Peter Davison wraps his tongue around some of the sarcastic one-liners he’s given, and there’s a lovely moment where he snaps at someone who isn’t there, and then explains why. The guest cast aren’t playing the normal fodder thrown into such movies: they all have their varying reasons to distrust everyone else, often with better cause than they might think.

The sound design is clever, with some scenes told purely through effects and some new tricks from director Ken Bentley that work very effectively. As seems to be quite common at the moment with Big Finish, don’t assume that the end credits means the story is over – this one in particular has a very intriguing coda which throws up all sorts of questions that will hopefully be answered in the other two stories in the trilogy.

Verdict: After the continuity-laden Seventh Doctor trilogy just concluded, this is a refreshing and very enjoyable adventure.  8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Burning Prince from Big Finish

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