Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 174: Prisoners of Fate

Prisoners of Fate coverThere are times when the Doctor and his companions want to become part of history – and other occasions when all that will do is cause total heartache. This is one of the latter cases…

As has been noted elsewhere, Jonathan Morris was doing “timey-wimey” stories for Big Finish long before the 11th Doctor started convoluting his own timeline, and, as he points out in the CD Extras, he was given an incredible “shopping list” of requirements for this story. It deals with (note, I didn’t say ties up) a lot of loose ends in the range which have been accumulating ever since Nyssa rejoined the TARDIS crew.

It’s a story that you need to listen to carefully, although it’s by no means the most complex that Big Finish has done (contrary to what some of those involved believe!) It’s also a story that couldn’t possibly have been done – or probably allowed by The Powers That Be in Cardiff – prior to this year. It builds on ideas from scripts within the Eleventh Doctor’s reign – not anticipating them, but simply riffing off ideas that might not have been allowed until there was a canonical base. There’s also, probably by coincidence although I’d love to think otherwise, a fantastic link to the most recent episode aired.

Sarah Sutton is the focal point of attention for this, and is given more emotional material to handle than the classic series normally provides. Nyssa is faced with some very unpleasant choices, and it’s a credit to Sutton that you can feel the anguish throughout. Peter Davison, Janet Fielding and Mark Strickson provide sterling support, with Alistair Mackenzie excellent as Galen (a reference to the Greek, rather than chimpanzee physician) – and director Ken Bentley also ensures that there’s never any confusion, particularly when characters become… other than themselves.

Verdict: Very much a pay-off for those who have been following the range, this is another enjoyable story. 8/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Prisoners of Fate from Big Finish

 

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