Nigel Fairs’ opening instalment of this new collection of enhanced audiobooks lives up to the author’s reputation for examining the psyches of the characters he includes. His Companion Chronicles for the Doctor Who range have turned the character of Leela inside out, providing insights which I suspect will have resonances across the range. This tale could do the same for Cally and Travis, but particularly the latter.
It’s Stephen Greif’s return to the role that he made so memorable thirty-five years ago, and he recaptures the Space Commander’s low regard, bordering on contempt, for anyone who can’t be useful to him. Fairs fleshes in some of his backstory, which gives Greif the opportunity to show some… I hesitate before using the word ‘vulnerability’ in connection with the character, but certainly show a side of Travis that we’ve rarely glimpsed before.
Jan Chappell, conversely, gets to show the harder side of Cally, particularly when the truths are revealed towards the end of the play. There are facets to her character that became watered down within the TV show, and this sort of story, particularly set so early in the timeline (this collection is set during Series A), allows that to be examined more closely.
Verdict: It’s a story that needs listening to carefully given the amount of bluff, double bluff and utter b.s. that the characters come out with at times but a fascinating ride through the days before the series began. 8/10