Change is here. Change is there. Change is all around us. Things must change and adapt otherwise we would not get anything new. And a change of sorts will be happening very soon in the world of Doctor Who, as the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, begins his final series of adventures before the inevitable occurs and change eclipses him once again….
But this is not the place for such discussions. It does, however, show a point brought up in this release. Change. Adaptation. Evolution. That is the topic of discussion in today’s story. A story involving a manipulated genius, a lost crew, a maniacal warmongerer… and a talking monkey… Well, this will be interesting at the very least.
At the request of the ever present Romana, and her desire to not come across the Black Guardian for as long as she lives, The Doctor decides to make his next trip with the use of the randomiser. Doing so, they come across, two army men, a doctor and a chimpanzee. In a submarine. IN SPACE! And that’s not the only bizarre thing that’s going to happen that day, as the Doctor and Romana are in a race to save everyone and answer the question on everyone’s lips. Who, or what is Dethras?
Big Finish has decided to take a risk with newcomer scriptwriter, Adrian Poynton. Though, denizens of BBC Three back in the day might find his name familiar as the creator of the sitcom, ‘White Van Man’ which starred Georgia Moffett (wife of Tenth Doctor David Tennant), Blake Harrison and Will Mellor (psychic from Broadchurch S1). Regardless, Poynton has proven he can write a script. The question is, is he able to write a sci-fi script? This release answers that question with a resounding… yes. Poynton not only has an understanding of the regulars and other characters and what makes each of them tick but he also perfectly casts a narrative that is both engaging and completely bloody mental at the same time.
And under the direction of Doctor Who and Big Finish impresario, Nicholas Briggs, Poynton’s script is brought bouncing into life by its impressive cast, with Tom Baker and Lalla Ward being joined by the likes of Rogue One’s Alistair Petrie, The Keeper Of Traken’s Sheila Ruskin, Last Tango In Halifax’s Josh Bolt, The Force Awakens’ Brian Vernel (soon to be in Series 10’s The Eaters Of Light) and regular Big Finish contributors Jane Slavin and John Banks, all of whom bring the top of their game to each of their performances, with Petrie, Slavin and Banks being the standouts with the way they make every word their characters utter sound natural and believable. Add to that some expertly crafted music and sound design by the legendary Jamie Robertson, and you have an audio drama that succeeds in nearly every aspect.
Brilliant Piece of Sci-fi
The only negative that could be found in this release is that it might be a little short, and could have possibly benefited as a double release story. Some might agree, some might disagree, but it was felt like more could have been explored within the story and a lengthier runtime could have helped that. Regardless, this story is a brilliant piece of sci-fi and a cracking first time out for a new writer. If any of his next works are as engaging as this one, then Big Finish have something very special on their hands. Time will tell… “It always does…”
BLOGTOR RATING: 9/10 A mad, bonkers sci-fi romp from a brilliant new name. More, please!
Doctor Who: The Fourth Doctor Adventures – Dethras is available to buy on CD or Download from the Big Finish website.
In the control room of a World War 2 submarine, something strange has started to happen. As the ship runs out of control, its crew begin to fall unconscious…
Finding the submarine in the last place they’d have expected, the Doctor and Romana are confronted by a mystery. Once fully populated, there are now only three men on board. And there’s now also a chimpanzee.
What has happened to the rest of the crew? What are the strange noises they can hear outside the hull?
And most importantly, who, or what is Dethras?
Written By: Adrian Poynton
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Alistair Petrie (John), Shelia Ruskin (Flague), Josh Bolt (Philip), Brian Vernel (Robert), John Banks (Franklin), Jane Slavin (Xankari/ Teacher).
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs