Review: Doctor Who: Big Finish Audio: The Lost Stories: The Rosemariners

The Doctor, Jamie and Zoe land on Earth Station 454 and battle the threat of the Rosemariners.

On paper, The Rosemariners has it all: a strong cast, with Frazer Hines doing his usual double duty as the second Doctor and Jamie; Wendy Padbury as Zoe; David Warner as guest star, and unusually for a Lost Story in this format, a second additional voice in the form of Clive Wood. It’s well-directed by Lisa Bowerman, who captures some of the oddities of the late-1960s stories in the soundscape. It’s written by Donald Tosh, whose reworking of John Lucarotti’s script for The Massacre is some of the best audio-only Doctor Who around.

But it doesn’t come together properly, and it’s down to the script, which is adapted by Tosh himself, rather than by one of the Big Finish freelancers who have developed the knack of taking the original story and adjusting it as necessary to the audio medium. There’s a decent 45 minute episode hiding in here – as pointed out in the extras, it’s the sort of story that could be done in the new series – but the conceit used, which is basically a reading of a novelisation, complete with “he said” regularly added, just doesn’t work.

It doesn’t help that there are inconsistencies: one narrator refers to the “control room”, the other to the “console room” in successive scenes. Is the threat universal, or galactic? Do we really hear a reverb of the infamous “Nozing in the world can stop me now!” line from the villain? Would Zoe really say, “Hi Jamie” and would either of the companions really forget about the Doctor?

Although there’s the danger of going once too often to the well, it’s a relief that there are more Lost Stories following this, as it would be a shame if this were to be the last. As I’ve said before about some of this range, sometimes there’s a good reason stories were lost, and unfortunately this is one of those tales, despite the cast and production crew’s very best endeavours.

Verdict: Although it conjures up the wonderful idea of a Dalek Alan Titchmarsh, this is sadly not a very strong entry in the series.  4/10

Paul Simpson

Click here to order The Rosemariners from Big Finish


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