The first of this new box set takes Big Finish’s series of adaptations of The Avengers into new territory: this, and its successor, deal with the stories about which precious little is known. In some cases, there’s only a bit of anecdotal evidence from a cast member, or a publicity shot and not much else. This presents new challenges for the team, but this is the same sort of extrapolation as happened with some of the Doctor Who Lost Stories, which on the whole worked well. Certainly, judging by Dan Starkey’s version of Nightmare, it’s going to be really hard to tell the difference.
It’s known that this is a Keel-centric story – remember that the series started life to a large extent as a vehicle for Ian Hendry rather than Patrick Macnee – and Starkey throws the good doctor in at the deep end, using good old-fashioned mistaken identity tropes as the centre of the plot. They’re neatly turned around for the third act with a great showdown scene that plays off contemporary roles for doctors and nurses (in much the same way, coincidentally, as a recent episode of Father Brown!), and giving Lucy Briggs-Owen more “screen” time as Carol than she’s likely to have had in the original!
Verdict: Another strong outing for the Avengers – and its 21st century production team. 8/10