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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Lure of the Nomad


Starring: Colin Baker
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 825 7 (CD), 978 1 78178 826 4 (download)
Release Date: 30 June 2018

For thousands of years, it has drifted through space, unimpeded, forgotten, seemingly lifeless. Now, finally, it has been discovered. Responding to a distress call from the mysterious hulk, the Doctor and his companion, space pilot Mathew Sharpe, walk into a desperate situation. The multi-tentacled semi-bionic Makara had been tasked with renovating the abandoned craft, but now they’ve begun murdering their employers. The Doctor soon realises that the Makara have been programmed to kill – but by whom, and for what reason? Finding out the truth will mean uncovering a secret that threatens the entire universe…

One gets a disconcerting sense of displacement from the opening episodes of this audio adventure. Things that shouldn’t happen happen, such as a distress signal being received from a location that never sent one, and people turn up where you wouldn’t expect to find them, such as a scientist who was supposed to be dead.

Even the Doctor’s new companion takes us by surprise. A young space pilot, Mathew Sharpe (George Sear) is sprung upon us without warning, like Mel was in The Trial of a Time Lord. As we join the story, he is already a passenger aboard the TARDIS, though we later learn that the Doctor had rescued him from a potentially fatal collision. A rather naïve character, Mathew (with one “t”, as he is at pains to point out) proves that it’s not just female companions who are apt to wander off, get into scrapes and twist their ankles. The Sixth Doctor has had male companions before (Grant Markham in prose and Thomas Brewster on audio – Colin Baker recalls the latter in a behind-the-scenes feature at the end of Disc Two), but relatively briefly, and so Mathew’s involvement is something of a novelty. Writer Matthew (with two “t”s) J Elliott’s story is well positioned in the release schedule – it’s the start of a Sixth Doctor trilogy, so one assumes it will also be the beginning of a Mathew Sharpe trilogy…

What’s also rather novel is the nature of the ‘monsters’ in The Lure of the Nomad. Intelligent octopoids whose biomechanical suits have been hacked and reprogrammed, the Makara attack and kill against their will, managing to be simultaneously unsettling and endearing as they politely apologise to their victims.

However, perhaps because of the sense of displacement that I mentioned earlier, I found it hard to warm to this story, feeling distanced from the proceedings. It doesn’t help that some of the characters, including Mathew and the self-centred businessman Eric Drazen (Matthew Holness) are rather simplistically written and performed.

Fortunately, Elliott throws us some major curve balls as he approaches the climax of the third episode, which sets things up for some surprising character developments during Part Four. These lured me back into The Lure of the Nomad.


Richard McGinlay

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