Doctor Who
Scaredy Cat

Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 14.99
ISBN 1 84435 160 2
Available 02 November 2005

Millennia ago, the people of Caludaar pledged never to set foot on their sister world, Endarra. But what secrets does the Eden-like planet hold? There are laws that even the Doctor won't break. While C'rizz learns that some tragedies cannot be averted, Charley must decide who the real enemy is...

The blurb on the back of this CD continues: For death walks on Endarra, and this time she won't be denied... This is actually rather misleading, but if I were to explain why, I might give the story away.

What is also a tad misleading is the fact that this four-part story is being released as a double CD. Big Finish's four-episode Whos usually run well over the standard 100 minute duration. Some of them are as long as six-parters. However, this one runs severely short - to 75 minutes in total - and could easily have fit on to one disc. Yet this remains a two-disc release, with a price point to match. I suppose Big Finish's pre-publicity prevented a change of plan and of price when the production ran short. Oh well, we've had plenty of free extra minutes from this company over the years, so I guess we can overlook this.

The story, though brief, is entertaining enough. You may feel the need to listen to bits of it again in order to fully grasp the notion of morphic resonance used in Will Schindler's script. I suppose that's one way of getting more minutes for your money. We are teased with the possibility that C'rizz's (Conrad Westmaas) demons might be revealed to his friends the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Charley (India Fisher), but we'll have to wait a little longer for the resolution to that particular arc.

What is most remarkable about this tale is the Sapphire & Steel-like quality to the "haunting" of the planet Endarra. Compare the use of the playground refrain, "Scaredy cat..." with that of the "I'm coming to get you," chant in Big Finish's latest Sapphire release, The Lighthouse. How fitting, therefore, that Scaredy Cat marks the Doctor Who directorial debut of Sapphire & Steel co-producer Nigel Fairs.

Fairs, who previously directed The Faction Paradox Protocols for BBV, casts his old Faction mate Ellis Pike (Godfather Morlock) in a minor role. Other players, Stuart McLaren and Michael Chance, gave me a bit of a Curse of Fatal Death flashback by occasionally sounding respectively like Richard E Grant and Jonathan Pryce - unfortunately a sometimes rather bored-sounding Jonathan Pryce.

But that's enough catty comments from me.

Richard McGinlay

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