Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 184: Scavenger

Scavenger coverWhen the Doctor takes Flip to see Earth from a new perspective, the pair become separated and caught up in a centuries-old love story…

Given the number of hints that were dropped in the previous two stories, you might expect this finale to somehow incorporate the search for Peri; it does, but not in the way that you’d anticipate. The young American’s fate is tied up intrinsically with the events of the final episode, which lead to one of Big Finish’s more unusual ends to a trilogy.

William Gallagher’s tale takes its cues from what may be a true incident in 17th Century India (which I suspect most people won’t have heard of – although it’s interesting that it now becomes the primary search item on Google when you enter one or other of the names of the two people involved), and runs with it in true Doctor Who style. By setting it on the sub-continent, he is able to bring in a number of other issues which also play out in some surprising ways: it’s a pleasant change to have someone as cynical and manipulative as Kate McEwen’s Jessica Allaway in a story.

The idea of dealing with junk in space isn’t a totally new one, and full marks to whoever came up with the explanation as to why the Indian craft is called Salvage 2 and the shout-out to a very short-lived series that I honestly didn’t think anyone but me recalled.

Nick Briggs has assembled an excellent cast for this story – former Sarah Jane Adventures’ star Anjli Mohindra is convincing as payload specialist Jyoti Cutler (whose first name gives Colin Baker something to get his teeth into). Tariq Bhatti has a multi-layered role as Salim, as does Tania Rodrigues as Anarkali and both adapt to the requirements of the script well.

But most kudos must go to Baker and Lisa Greenwood as Flip – not all the new Doctor/companion partnerships that Big Finish have created have slipped into gear as quickly and seemingly easily as theirs has. Baker’s performance at the end of both the third and fourth episodes is some of his best for Big Finish – and I cringe at the thought of the way those scenes would have played out on television had the story been done during his time on the show – and Greenwood has risen to every challenge the script has given her, again particularly in those final two episodes. I really hope that a further trilogy is on the cards…

Verdict: One of the strongest overall productions this year from Big Finish. 9/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order Scavenger from Big Finish


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