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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Vengeance of Morbius


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 311 8
Available 31 August 2008

The universe is in grave danger. Morbius, a ruthless Time Lord dictator assumed to be long since dead, is being brought back to life by the obsessed Zarodnix, the wealthiest man in the galaxy. The fabric of time and space is being altered. The Time Lords are helpless. The Doctor and Lucie must race against time to prevent the destruction of everything they hold dear. They may have to sacrifice everything to save the whole of creation - even themselves...

Following all the build-up in Sisters of the Flame (which you may have to listen to again, as there is no recap from that CD at the start of this one), this concluding instalment is something of a letdown.

Morbius himself (newly regenerated into Samuel West) appears only in the second half of the episode, one quarter of the serial as a whole. You could argue that this was also true of the original Morbius serial, with the dictator acquiring his new body only for the last 25 minutes of the story, but at least we got to hear Michael Spice ranting and raving throughout. Morbius’s reign of terror seems all too brief here, even though we are told (due to an error in the Doctor’s piloting of the TARDIS) that he has been in power for years.

That temporal aspect to the story, as well as the whole notion of a Time Lord dictator ravaging the Earth (as well as countless other worlds), brings to mind the finale to Series 3 of the new television series, as does the time-bending cop-out at the end. (Also similar to a new series climax - Series 4 this time - is the idea of a Time Lord becoming able to regenerate a whole new body from a tissue sample.)

The story ends on a rather pointless cliffhanger involving a threat to the Doctor’s (Paul McGann) life. It is pointless because, unless Big Finish is completely breaking away from TV series continuity, then we know that the Doctor will survive to regenerate into Christopher Eccleston. The clincher is the “coming soon” section of the CD sleeve, which confirms that the Eighth Doctor and Lucie (Sheridan Smith) will be back next year.

Still, they all give spirited performances while they are here, as does Kenneth Colley, who seems more insane as Zarodnix this time around (and I mean that in a good way). Other guest stars from the previous episode - Nickolas Grace, Alexander Siddig, Katarina Olsson and Nicola Weeks - play smaller roles.

The Vengeance of Morbius is OK, but I expected something more(bius).


Richard McGinlay

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