Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio 199: Last of the Cybermen

DWMR199_lastofthecybermen_1417The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe are caught up in the aftermath of the Great Cyberwar – but why is the Doctor’s sixth incarnation there?

Alan Barnes’ contribution to this anniversary trilogy to mark Big Finish’s 200th main range release (although there must be closer to 500 Who stories in the various different ranges out by now!) teams Colin Baker’s Doctor with Frazer Hines and Wendy Padbury. As Baker notes in the extras, this isn’t the first time the three have worked together in a main range story, and there’s a strong rapport between the three actors, even if their characters aren’t always quite so in synch.

Director Barnaby Edwards keeps a firm grip on the story’s various threads, with help from Nigel Fair’s sound design. The small cast doubles up as necessary with Nick Briggs providing assorted different Cyber-voices. However, whereas Briggs’ The Defectors transplanted the Seventh Doctor into a typical Pertwee story, this feels more of a combination of the two eras. Although the title gives away that this is in some ways a Cyber equivalent to Evil of the Daleks, there’s rather more playing with Time than was usual for the Troughton era, with more cues taken perhaps from Attack than Tomb of the Cybermen. Many of the characters – notably Lanky and Captain Frank – however are very true to the black and white days, with a Dan Dare/Biggles gung-ho attitude.

This isn’t a negative criticism: just as the presence of the Seventh Doctor introduced some grey areas that might not have come up had his third self been in the story, so the Sixth Doctor is more naturally involved in this sort of tale. Given this Doctor’s love of the dramatic gesture, we’ll forgive him for his rather overstating the case regarding Jamie and Zoe’s fates at one point…

Verdict: A missing piece of Cyber-history is filled in along the way in this enjoyable, if sometimes convoluted tale. 8/10

Paul Simpson

 

 

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