The disappearing colonists at Roanoke is one of those stories that you don’t hear anything about for ages, and then two or three tales come along presenting possible explanations. New YA imprint Strange Chemistry’s debut novel Blackwood is set in the present-day Roanoke, and has links back to the events of 15870-1590. Matthew Sweet has used the mystery as the basis for this intriguing audio, which, unusually for a Big Finish release, relies quite heavily on a visual clue for what’s going in.
As with any story that has numerous twists and turns – particularly ones that involve a time machine – you don’t want to know too much going on. Jago is once again separated from Litefoot and the Doctor, and there’s a race against time to ensure that he doesn’t suffer the same fate as some of the others nearby.
There’s an intriguing use of language: the thees and thous are plentiful, which is something that is usually eschewed by Big Finish – after all, the TARDIS translates the speech around the travellers into forms that they understand, so you’d expect it to provide “you”. However, it works well on this occasion, particularly given the diverse characters on and travelling to the island.
The ending makes sense of the somewhat puzzling blurb for Jago & Litefoot series five and throws up some interesting questions about what the Sixth Doctor remembers about his earlier meetings with the pair in his own timeline (remember – the Doctor and Romana share a story with the investigators in the new series coming next year.)
Verdict: Another time of trial and tribulation for Henry Gordon provides a tantalising tale. 8/10