Doctor Who

Starring: Peter Davison
Big Finish Productions
RRP 13.99
ISBN 1 84435 029 0, BFPDWCD6EA
Available now

Tour operator Jolly Chronolidays offers to bring historical subjects to life through specially staged reconstructions at the scene of the events in question. One such venture, in the "Sector of Forgotten Souls", where the Time Lord Omega's ship vanished millennia ago, brings history to life rather too literally for comfort...

Ian Collier's Omega has, to my mind, one of the best villain voices from the whole of '80s Who. In my humble opinion, he's up there with Geoffrey Beevers' Master (from whom we'll be hearing more later in the year). As a masked adversary (we never saw his face until after he had copied the Doctor's in Arc of Infinity) he is a perfect character for audio drama.

The script is penned by Nev Fountain, one of writers of Dead Ringers and the script editor of Death Comes to Time, so as you would expect there is a degree of humour to this drama. Much of this humour is provided by the characters of Daland (Hugo Myatt), a shallow old ham of an actor, and the eccentric Professor Ertikus (Patrick Duggan) and by the faux Shakespearean dialects of the Jolly Chronolidays re-enactments. Daland's rendition of Omega owes more to the bellowing Stephen Thorne in The Three Doctors than Collier's guttural performance. His theatricality and cowardice also remind me of Henry Gordon Jago in The Talons of Weng-Chiang.

Caroline Munro, who for several years in the early '90s was linked with an abortive Doctor Who cinema film, finally makes it into the series as the stewardess Sentia. She exhibits a far greater acting range than her primarily decorative roles in movies such as At the Earth's Core and The Spy Who Loved Me ever allowed her to demonstrate.

The first half of the story is a bit slow-moving, something that is not helped by the fact that the appearance of a certain character at the end of Part One is hardly a surprise (the clue's in the title). However, the final two episodes unfold very nicely indeed, with a stupendous twist at the end of Part Three.

All in all, it's well worth getting your hands on Omega.

Richard McGinlay

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