Written by Simon Guerrier, Directed by Darren Gross
In which Quentin Collins (Selby) passes out in the thick London fog of 1941, and regains consciousness inside a down-at-heels museum. Cared for by eccentric employee John Cunningham (Waterhouse), Quentin soon realizes that this is no ordinary fog, and the two men will be lucky to survive the night…
One of the most effective Dark Shadows television episodes is also one of the simplest, when Dr. Julia Hoffman is left alone in Collinwood one evening, haunted by phantoms and her guilty conscience. The Creeping Fog follows a similar path, with pleasing results that inexorably draw the listener into the taut proceedings as Quentin and John fumble about in the darkness whilst a deadly entity may or may not be stalking them.
It’s fair to say that Matthew Waterhouse has received considerable criticism over the years – some of it deserved, some probably not – for his performance as Adric in Doctor Who. But 30 years have passed since he first portrayed the irritating mathematical genius and – surprising as it may seem for some people – he’s actually quite good in The Creeping Fog!
He’s at his best when conversing in hushed or apologetic tones, and has a poignant monologue relating his character’s service days in World War I. Only when he’s angry and/or shouty do elements of Adric creep into his performance. But I defy anyone to listen to Waterhouse’s dithering academic and say that he hasn’t improved tremendously.
(And for those keeping track of such things, this now makes Jackie Lanethe only surviving Doctor Who companion not to be involved with Big Finish in some capacity or other. But I digress…)
David Selby, unsurprisingly, is excellent as ever, finding numerous nuances in Simon Guerrier’s claustrophobic script. And as for the script, it does ultimately veer into A Night at the Museum territory by way of The Stone Tape and/or Sapphire and Steel. It retains an impressive aura of creepiness, even when its internal logic goes a bit “off the rails.”
Verdict: Sometimes simple is best. 8/10
John S. Hall