Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: The 5th Doctor Box Set 1: Psychodrome

DW5D14S_Psychodrome_Disc1_1417The new Doctor and his shipmates may have survived Castrovalva, but they know next to nothing about each other…

Down to the Paddy Kingsland-esque descending chromatic scale in the score, this is a great recreation of the early Davison era, only now really possible with the addition of Matthew Waterhouse to the Big Finish team. It’s not a season that has had a lot of accretions over the years – either in print or audio form (the crossover Missing/New Adventure Cold Fusion and the recent Destiny of the Doctor tale are the only ones that spring to mind) – so Jonathan Morris has plenty of scope to do something different with the crew.

Interestingly, in a sense that’s almost the opposite of what he does, and I have to admit that initially my heart sank when I realised what was going on, and who the various other characters were. I shouldn’t have worried – Morris takes a neat idea and spins it so that it plays off the fact that the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric have been thrown together and gone from one crisis to the next without much chance to get to know each other. There’s a little bit of the inevitable “sorry about your world/your brother/your Aunt” dialogue, but mostly the pairings allow the time travellers to see beneath the surface.

DW5D14S_Psychodrome_Disc2_1417Waterhouse drops back into character quickly (albeit with a few moments when his vocal pitching is a little high for the young Alzarian), and the tensions between the quartet which is a feature of the season are highlighted. There are some well-constructed throws both back and forward in the show’s history (a long way forward in some cases), and I loved the last line, which couldn’t have been more appropriate.

This one must have been interesting to cast, given the nature of the characters, and the performances are nicely judged.

Verdict: Strong script and performances make this first Season 19 full cast audio work well. 8/10

Paul Simpson

DW5D14S_Fifth_Doctor_Box_SetClick here to order the Fifth Doctor Box Set from Big Finish



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