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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
An Alien Werewolf in London


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Publisher: Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 853 0 (CD),
978 1 78178 854 7 (download)
Release Date: 31 July 2019

A space-time summons brings the TARDIS to the strangest place Mags has yet visited. A haven for the freakiest freaks and the weirdest weirdos: Camden Lock, London, in the early 1990s. But there’s a reason why former TARDIS traveller Ace has brought the old gang back together. She’s on a mission to rescue an alien life form, which is being held prisoner in a massive mansion. She’s worked out all the details, so the mission can’t possibly go wrong… can it…?


This release is the last in the current Seventh Doctor and Mags trilogy. It’s also been a trilogy that has put a distinctive Doctor Who spin on some iconic Universal / Hammer movie monsters. The Monsters of Gokroth did Frankenstein, The Moons of Vulpana put werewolves front and centre, and now An Alien Werewolf in London

Hang on a minute. An alien werewolf? Does this mean we’re doing lycanthropes again? In fact, it doesn’t mean that. There’s not much lycanthropy going on here, despite the presence of Mags (Jessica Martin), though there is some growling, plenty of metamorphoses and lots of sharp teeth. In spite of this story’s title, its plot owes virtually nothing to that of the John Landis horror comedy film An American Werewolf in London, aside from the city in which this tale takes place – and London is hardly an unusual setting for a Doctor Who adventure.

The 1990s time frame selected by writer and outgoing script editor Alan Barnes (commissioning himself in the great Doctor Who tradition) allows for numerous pop-culture references, including allusions to alternative comedy, The Lost Boys, Brookside, Aussie soups, satellite television, Cilla Black, Robert Palmer videos, The Cure, Men at Work and Yazz.

The story also sees the return of Ace (Sophie Aldred), who at this juncture has ceased her travels with the Doctor (Sylvester McCoy) some time ago, following the Seventh Doctor Lost Stories (fans of The New Adventures novels, another product of the 1990s, may prefer to place these events after Set Piece). She provides a good contrast to Mags, feeling right at home in what is for her pretty much contemporary Camden, whereas Mags is charmingly unfamiliar with the local customs.

So, if An Alien Werewolf in London isn’t about werewolves, what is it about? Predominantly, it’s about vampires (Christopher Lee even gets a mention). However, these are vampires with a difference. Many of them have found a way to overcome the downsides of their undead existence, such as their murderous and messy dependence on human blood or their aversion to sunlight – which ties in nicely with Mags’s quest to resist her monstrous urges.

While Mags has her wish come true, albeit temporarily, Ace finds herself undergoing a fearful transformation of her own after she is infected by a vampire. This neat role reversal for the companions, combined with the involvement of another shape-shifter and some decidedly deceptive vampires, means that the listener can never be entirely sure who the real monsters are. To further keep us on our toes, numerous characters have their memories mucked about with, and the narrative of one particular individual proves to be highly unreliable – we actually hear one falsehood in the apparent form of a flashback.

Mags looks set to return in a future trilogy, which is good news. In the meantime, how about Big Finish reacquainting us with other ‘could have been’ Seventh Doctor companions, such as Ray, Susan Q or even a Kang? A Welsh Motorcyclist in London, anyone?


Richard McGinlay

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