Whose identity, it has to be said, isn’t exactly a secret! Marc Platt seems to be Big Finish’s ‘go-to’ person at the moment for reviving old foes, and after his take on Magnus Greel in The Butcher of Brisbane, we now have Eldrad returning.
The good news – which is made abundantly clear from the very start of the story – is that Stephen Thorne has returned to reprise the role he created in 1976 for Elisabeth Sladen’s final regular appearance in Doctor Who. Certain beats from The Hand of Fear are repeated, or homage, but this is a Platt script: things are not necessarily what they seem, and there are multiple layers to this story, which culminate in a very different role for Thorne than one might have expected from the start.
There are some clever tricks on display – Mark Strickson, in particular, is given quite a bit to do, with his cast mates given a very good reason for doubling up their roles; and Nyssa does a ‘Spock’, communicating with a stranded sea creature – but this doesn’t quite grab the attention as much as some of Platt’s earlier stories. Perhaps it’s because we’re so used to the Mara possessing members of this TARDIS crew that it’s not such a surprise when it happens here?
Verdict: A different take on Eldrad that doesn’t quite gel. 7/10