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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 500 6
Available 30 November 2010

1934: the TARDIS lands on a snowy island off the coast of Alaska - one that wasn’t there four years, three months and six days ago, according to the Doctor. The island is dominated by a vast, twisted citadel. Inside it, the Lurkers lie dreaming. It’s said that when they wake the world will end. Led by the ruthless Emerson Whytecrag, an expedition has come to the citadel, to exploit the horrors within its ebon-dark interior... horrors just like those published in the pages of the pulp magazine Shuddersome Tales, where a hero’s only reward is madness, death, or worse... horrors that the Doctor and his companion are about to wake up...

People (other reviewers, and the production team themselves during the 15 minutes of interviews at the end of Disc 2) keep describing Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge as a straightforward and traditional Who story - which I think does it a disservice.

Sure, there’s none of the time-hopping and reality-bending that we witnessed during last month’s A Death in the Family, but there’s a palpable sense of madness throughout Marty Ross’s HP Lovecraft-inspired story. This is evident not just in the asylum scenes and the deceptively meek inmate CP Doveday (played by Dempsey and Makepeace’s Michael Brandon), but also in the variously deranged explorers of the alien citadel, Professor August Corbin (Alex Lowe) and financier Emerson Whytecrag (Jonathan Creek’s Stuart Milligan), as well as in the citadel itself, with the haunting moans of something stirring within. For the first three episodes of this four-part tale, there are almost Ghost Light levels of “what the heck”-ness. I mean that in a good way.

The atmosphere is augmented by a particularly memorable soundtrack by Steve Foxon, which brings to mind both an exciting horror movie and - appropriately enough - Mark Ayres’s music for the Season 26 period pieces. There’s a ten-minute compilation of Foxon’s music at the end of Disc 1.

The performances are generally excellent, as are the accents, many of them American, though I wasn’t entirely convinced by the Eastern European inflection of Kate Terence as Dr Freya Gabriel. The regulars - Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, Sophie Aldred as Ace and Philip Olivier as Hex - are great too, with a particularly emotive performance from Aldred and no overacting from McCoy.

The adventure becomes a more ordinary beast when its plot strands are tied together and explained in Part Four. Overall, though, Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge is a gripping tale that will keep you on the edge of your seat.


Richard McGinlay

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