Doctor Who
Project: Lazarus

Starring: Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP 13.99
ISBN 1 84435 027 4, BFPDWCD7CJ7X
Available now

Having made a breakthrough in his search for a cure to the virus that made Cassie a vampire, the Doctor programs the TARDIS to seek out the reluctant bloodsucker. But he and Evelyn are not the only ones looking for Cassie...

This being the 40th anniversary year of Doctor Who, it is far from surprising that Big Finish is releasing a lot of CDs featuring the return of old foes and friends. Later this year we can expect to hear from Davros, Omega and the Master, as well as the multi-Doctor epic Zagreus. But for now, this audio drama marks the return of both Cassie (Rosie Cavaliero) and the creepy Nimrod (Stephen Chance) from 2001's Project: Twilight, which is written by the same scripting duo of Cavan Scott and Mark Wright.

Project: Lazarus also sees another meeting between incarnations of the Doctor: the Colin Baker and Sylvester McCoy versions. Before you sigh and complain that the Doctor seems to have been meeting his other selves far too frequently of late (the Seventh Doctor also appears briefly in The Colony of Lies, July's Second Doctor novel from BBC Books), the plot device that facilitates it on this occasion is refreshingly different.

In fact, the story pretty much comprises a pair of two-parters, with Baker in charge of the first half and McCoy dominating the second, rather than being a single four-part tale. The threat that faces the Sixth Doctor during Part Two is made potentially all the more deadly thanks to the knowledge that his successor is going to appear later on: is it possible that he will be forced to regenerate right here and now?

Whereas for me Project: Twilight ran out of steam halfway through its duration, Project: Lazarus kept me interested and kept on surprising me. The only letdown that I can think of - and it's a minor one - is a rather dodgy, wavering accent on the part of Vidar Magnussen, who plays Professor Harket in the first half of the tale. Apart from that, Lazarus - appropriately enough - has plenty of life in it.

Richard McGinlay

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