No, not Mondas, although when I heard the description “Earth’s twin planet” being used, that’s what I wondered for a moment. This is the Venus of the pulp sci-fi tales – cities in the sky, weird creatures, transplanted Colonial attitudes. Writer Jonathan Morris and director Ken Bentley have created a neat pastiche of these tales, which fits well with the unusual TARDIS team featured in two special tales set between series four and five of Jago & Litefoot.
It’s a bit like one of those Marvel Team-Up magazines, where two separate sets of heroes have to be given enough to do so that neither feels like a guest star in the other’s series, and Morris achieves this well, splitting the various parties up at different points. There are loads of nods to other Venusian stories as well as some of the show’s own mythology – you won’t be too surprised at a musical choice that Henry and the Professor make!
To avoid spoilers, I didn’t comment on the interaction between the Sixth Doctor and the Victorian investigators in the review of their fourth season, but the combination works well, particularly the Sixth Doctor’s occasional grumpiness when he feels underappreciated.
The guest cast – including Primeval’s Juliet Aubrey and an unrecognisable Hugh Ross (Counter-Measures) – give the “regulars” some great foils to work off and get into the spirit of the story.
Verdict: A mini-fantasy epic. 7/10
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