September 7th marked the 30th anniversary of Sylvester McCoy taking on the roll of The Seventh Doctor and ‘The Silurian Candidate’ from Big Finish is his most recent performance.
Between 3 seasons, a TV movie, however many books, comics and audio stories, it’s really quite incredible that stories are still being told, and that they can be this good. In fact, ‘The Silurian Candidate’ is excellent!
Mel believes that they’re off to a party when Ace knowingly advices otherwise, indicating her deep knowledge of how the Doctor’s mind works. Of course, Ace is right and they’re just popping off to check on something else first when things don’t quite go according to plan. At least not Mel’s plans.
‘The Silurian Candidate’, is the latest release in the Big Finish monthly range and the fourth consecutive 7th Doctor Story. Of all the stories, this one seemed to be the least intriguing concept. Everyone loves a good classic Silurian story but the 3 previous stories all had more interesting or unique concepts, at least on the surface. This story really has everything, the comedy, the dark calculating Doctor, Ace in a mood, Mel being taken for a ride, dinosaur’s (Yup, check that gorgeous cover art by Anthony Lamb) Silurian’s, politics and so much more.
Performances are solid across the board from our regular players to the supporting cast. Everyone absolutely nails it. Nicholas Asbury as Falco is the show stopper this month. His wealthy Australian is both very enjoyable in sinister clown sort of way, yet human and believable .
Nicholas Briggs plays three parts and not all of them are monsters, though of course he does a brilliant Silurian. How he disguises his voice in non-monster roles to not be instantly recognisable is why he’s the master. And wouldn’t he make such a great Master?
It would be cruel not to celebrate McCoy, even just a little. His Doctor is perhaps the most unique of the lot in that he’s constantly ahead of the curve. Despite having some great scripts it’s McCoy’s performance that really makes his interpretation of the Doctor pop. With over the top costume qualities he manages plays the character in an understated way. McCoy’s voice is a real treat. It can rumble and roar or it can be sweet and playful. You never know exactly what you’re going to get but you’re always going to be taken on a journey.
The script by Matthew J Elliot is now one of my absolute favourites and I adored the references, clever dialog and pace so much I just know this will be one to revisit over and over again. Elliot’s credits are limited at Big Finish but I’m certain this will change soon.
Ken Bentley chooses great teams to work with and gets the most from everyone including sound designer Luke Pietnik. Pietnik did great work on the most recent Blake’s 7, The Spoils of War and this month is no different. Solid sound design all around. The audio did exactly what you want it to and that’s transport you back 30 years or so and fool you into believing you are watching what you are listening to. It also feels real and not a flimsy set. A hard balance to maintain but excellently executed.
The sound of the Silurian’s are perfect! You can almost smell their gurgling breath. These sound like classic 3rd Doctor era Silurian’s too!
Music by Howard Carter does precisely what you want from a score. It never steals the limelight but helps accentuate the script and performances. By the end when the music finally allows itself a moment to shine it’s well earned and well placed.
There’s not an element that doesn’t work here. Starting with a solid script, adding a perfect cast and topping it off with music and sound that immerses the listener. ‘The Silurian Candidate’ is everything you would want from a Seventh Doctor story and is a great way to celebrate 30 years of McCoy. Enjoyable from start to finish, any Doctor Who fan, Classic or otherwise, is sure to enjoy ‘The Silurian Candidate’.