What has killed a train load of passengers?
Nigel Fairs’ short tale for the third Doctor and Jo uses the audio medium well, complementing the sharp characterisation of the time travellers and the UNIT set-up, in particular hinting at the Doctor’s growing dissatisfaction with his life on Earth, now that he has a fully functioning TARDIS once more.
Katy Manning throws herself, as ever, into the performance, giving us clear renditions of her younger self as a more seasoned traveller than the naïve young girl who first met the Doctor, Pertwee’s incarnation of the Time Lord, Nick Courtney’s Brigadier, and even Mike Yates and Sergeant Benton (whose West Country accent always seems more pronounced than I remember). The soundscape feels unusual in that the effects come simultaneously with their description in the narrative rather than a split-second later, which adds an immediacy to the tale, and the music adds neatly to the overall effect.
Living not far from the tunnel which inspired the story, it was a little spooky to be listening to this travelling down to Brighton on the train – although given the Brigadier’s actions in the story, clearly the tunnel in the audio isn’t on the mainline! Thematically, there are some interesting parallels with Pertwee’s second story, particularly given this audio’s chronological placement, and I hope Fairs produces more tales for this team – maybe even one of the new Third Doctor Adventures?
Verdict: A well-produced spooky tale with much going on beneath the surface. 9/10