Mike Yates needs help from exiled UNIT officers Charlie Sato and Ruth Matheson when a squad go missing inside the Vault…
Tales from the Vault has been an occasional set of stories that featured in the Companion Chronicles, reuniting the two stars of the 1996 TV Movie, Daphne Ashbrook and Yee Jee Tso, not as their characters from that (copyright seems to be in the way of us ever having more stories for Grace or Chang Lee) but as two UNIT officers involved with the company’s mysterious Vault. That’s where items of alien tech are stored, something which seemed initially to be almost in conflict with the TV series’ own Black Vault but which this story very neatly explains.
It’s not exactly where Sir Toby placed the items at the end of The Reesinger Process, but where they’ve ended up some decades later, allowing Jamie Glover’s Mr Rees to start wreaking one of his terrible revenge things (as Rowan Atkinson’s Comic Relief Doctor might say). It’s not just UNIT continuity that Jonathan Morris neatly ties together in this story, but also Mike Yates’ own timeline, incorporating his TV appearances, his Companion Chronicles and Destiny of the Doctor adventures and his AudioGo Nest Cottage stories together, and we get to learn a bit more about both Charlie and Ruth. The combination of the three UNIT officers works rather well… another spin-off on the way, I wonder?
The Screaming Skull is a melodramatic title for a story that actually doesn’t go down that route: it’s more of a psychological drama than an all-action piece. It’s also the only one of these stories to end on a cliffhanger although it’s pretty much a standalone.
Verdict: A sometimes chilling mental battle as Mr Rees extends his grip to the 21st Century. 8/10