Doctor Who

Starring: Peter Davison
Big Finish Productions
RRP: 14.99
ISBN 1 84435 173 4
Available 13 November 2005

Russia, the near future. The Somnus Foundation knows the fate of mankind; they promise a tomorrow where humanity will evolve into a godlike form of infinite power. But the Doctor also knows the fate of mankind; the human race is destined to fight and struggle for its very existence, to survive disaster and war to carve an empire from an unforgiving universe. Time is fracturing, and the Doctor and Turlough are at the heart of the chaos...

What did I tell you? While whinging about the short running time of Big Finish's previous two-disc release, Scaredy Cat, I also admitted that such stories often over-run at no extra cost to the consumer. Such a situation arises once again with the four-part Singularity, which, at 128 minutes' duration, contains more than enough material for a five-parter.

But is the material any good?

Due to Mark Strickson's frequent lack of availability, this is only the third audio adventure to feature the surly Turlough. Thankfully he's as moody as ever, although, as in Phantasmagoria, he sometimes finds himself acting heroically despite his intentions. He also has an argument with the Doctor (Peter Davison) about the Time Lord keeping secrets from him (a case of the pot calling the kettle black if ever there was one), a debate that seems more suited to the Seventh Doctor and Ace (mind you, I have just been re-watching The Curse of Fenric on DVD). The Doctor's knowledge and calm control of events in the final episode also seem a bit Seventh Doctorish.

Discussion of Turlough's family sows the seeds for events in his final television story, Planet of Fire, though there is still room for further adventures in between, actor availability permitting. Though Turlough asks to go somewhere warm after the freezing temperatures of Russia, this doesn't necessarily mean that the Doctor will immediately set the controls for Lanzarote, because in Planet of Fire it is Kamelion who causes the TARDIS to land there.

The Russian setting (one that was never visited on the TV series) implies a communist angle to the Somnus Foundation's goal of uniting humanity as a single god-like entity, though this is never explicitly stated. This idea is unfortunately rather similar to Skagra's plan to create a universal mind in Shada. Also, I did wonder whether the vengeful beings behind Somnus, who hate the Time Lords and recognise the Doctor, might prove to be the Ferutu from the Fifth Doctor novel Cold Fusion, but that is not the case.

James Swallow's story is epic in scope and also extends far forward in time to the very end of the universe, even further than the New Adventures novel Timewyrm: Apocalypse.

Though not quite as singular as it strives to be, this adventure is a cut above much of Big Finish's recent Who output.

Richard McGinlay

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