Johnny Byrne’s sequel to The Keeper of Traken has been fleshed out by Johnny Morris, and brought to life by an impressive cast including Stephen Thorne, Graham Cole and (an almost unrecognisable) Simon Williams. It’s not perhaps the strongest story that Byrne came up with – the central villain is a little bit too like Sutekh at times, and giving him the word “plaything” to say is a real speedbump – but it is definitely an improvement on some of the other stories from this period. One character’s arc takes a bit of a sudden left turn towards the end (there’s a scene setting it up which doesn’t quite work), but overall we are presented with a diverse group whose attitudes to the situation vary greatly and in whom we believe.
Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant sound as if they’ve stepped from the set in 1985, neatly capturing that variant of the Doctor/Peri relationship. Foreshadowing the events of Mindwarp, we hear the Doctor apparently considering his options and even though we can be pretty sure it’s a bluff, Baker sells it extremely well. Williams is apparently doing a Welsh accent (although I think there was some Scottish there at one point, and there’s definitely unadulterated Williams in one scene) but perhaps secretly this is so the new adventures of Chunky Gilmour aren’t spoiled! Director Ken Bentley keeps the pace going and ensures you don’t have time to think too hard about some of the developments.
Verdict: A fun trip back to the era. 7/10