A suitably convoluted end of season tale pays tribute to the multiple android creation of The Oseidon Adventure’s source material, Terry Nation’s 1975 tale The Android Invasion, and plays successfully on audience expectations of bluff and double bluff.
There are some terrific scenes for Tom Baker and Geoffrey Beevers – as well as Beevers and Louise Jameson – with one of the more unusual cliffhangers that Big Finish has done. In some hands, this could have felt like an anti-climax, but Alan Barnes is skilled enough to make an admission of inadequacy a draw for the next episode. The emulation of the period is so accurate – aided by Baker’s suitably reined in performance – that you can almost see a lot of the scenes as they unfold.
The Kraals work better on audio than you might think. As the CD extras point out, there are similarities to the Sontarans vocally, but director Ken Bentley’s comment about their lack of musicality in the voice (and of course their natural resemblance to Zippy from Rainbow!) gives them a distinctive sound. Strong performances from Michael Cochrane and the other guest artists maintain the quality.
Overall, Tom Baker’s first season for Big Finish can be hailed as a success – a steep learning curve in some of the first material recorded has resulted in performances that fit within the era that they’re set. And from the sound of the trailer for series two, there are more good things to come.
Verdict: A rousing finale. 8/10