Matt Fitton’s Starlight Robbery continues this latest trilogy of adventures featuring the Seventh Doctor towards the end of his life, travelling with Elizabeth Klein and her assistant, Will Arrowsmith. Like its predecessor, it’s a little unusual – there are some quite severe tonal shifts within the story, with some laugh out loud lines courtesy of Stuart Milligan’s returning Garundel, the salamander-like dealer last encountered in Black and White, as well as some very dark moments coming from the same source. The final episode in particular throws some real curveballs.
Christian Edwards gets more chance to give new companion Will depth in this story, and there’s also some interesting developments for Klein – her actions at the conclusion allow Tracey Childs to display a side to her that we’ve not seen that much of before.
The real stand-out performances of the story though come courtesy of Dan Starkey, who creates a horde of different Sontarans, all of whom obviously share the same base (as befitting a clone race) but which are all distinct and discrete. Big Finish are making good use of their actors’ abilities, with Starkey joining Frazer Hines and Katy Manning on the roll call of thespians acting against themselves in multiple scenes in a story.
My only slight complaint about this is that there’s a bit too much incidental music: silence or a still background can sometimes be very effective tools. There were a couple of confrontations in this where I’d have preferred to focus purely on the drama unfolding – it’s particularly noticeable where the recap at the end of one episode picks up the music mid-phrase. However, otherwise this was another well-directed and created story.
Verdict: Darker than you might initially expect, this sets the stage for an encounter with some familiar foes (one of whose signature special effects is briefly heard towards the end). 7/10