An archaeological dig is underway in rural England in the 1980s. But there is more in the ground than just Iron Age relics. A Movellan Power Pack is pulled from the ground as is a Movellan spaceship – buried in the soil. The Doctor and Romana know the Movellans but soon the threat isn’t from the enemy of the Daleks, but something the Movellan’s created – a massive killing machine…

THE RETURN OF SOME NOT-SO FRIENDLY FACES

Coming close off the heels of their reappearance in The Pilot, The Movellan Grave sees the robotic enemy of the Daleks return – once more facing off against the Fourth Doctor and Romana.

Having already met the Movellans in Destiny of the Daleks, the Doctor and Romana know how dangerous and mindless these beautiful robots can be. So imagine their surprise when a Movellan Power Pack is shown on national television following its recent excavation. But this time, the Daleks aren’t coming, something is burrowing its way up through the earth, a Dalek killing machine.

Writer, Andrew Smith has had a writing renaissance of late, contributing to many ranges at Big Finish, including – Survivors, UNIT and Blakes 7. Of course, his main contribution is still to Doctor Who, where he gave us an origin for the Sontarans as well as bringing back the Voord and Mashmen. Now he brings back the Movellans.

NOT YOUR ORDINARY ENEMY

Interestingly Movellans aren’t only adversary – well, not to begin with. The Chenek, a super-powered experiment, created by the Movellans takes on this role with Movellan Commander Narina taking a back seat to Chenek.

Polly Walker’s Commander Narina shines. When we first meet her, she is sympathetic, having been stranded on Earth for centuries. Of course, it doesn’t take her long to show her true colours and we, the listeners can’t help but slap ourselves for falling for the sympathetic Movellan trick again.

FANTASTIC PERFORMANCES

What really does elevate this tale and makes it one to add to your collection is the strong performances. Camilla Power is brilliant as Carrie Pierce. Pierce comes across as one of those one episode companions, much in the same ilk as Amelia Rutherford, Jane Hampden and Ray. And she works well with both The Doctor and Romana, especially since she spends a lot of time with both.

Polly Walker is suitably ruthless as Commander Narina with Chris Jarman putting in an equally chilling performance as Chenek – who redeems himself nicely at the end.

Tom Baker and Lalla Ward continue their excellent streak as the Fourth Doctor and Romana and give this story a huge amount of energy along with the strong guest performances, writing and tight direction from Nicholas Briggs.

Andrew Smith give the Movellans a truly dark side but doesn’t give them any new direction. Perhaps, we’ll see the Movellans next as Dalek cannon fodder…

Blogtor Rating – 9/10

Synopsis

When an archaeological dig in 1980s England finds a Movellan power pack buried amongst Iron Age artefacts, the Doctor and Romana have no choice but to investigate. And what they discover worries them very much indeed.

A Movellan ship is buried under the ground. Soon the robotic enemies of the Daleks are making their way to the surface, but they are not the biggest threat humanity faces.

Because on board this ship is the greatest weapon the Movellans have ever devised. A weapon that could stop the Daleks forever… and anything else that gets in their way.

  • Written By: Andrew Smith
  • Directed By: Nicholas Briggs

Cast

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Camilla Power (Carrie Pierce), Polly Walker (Commander Narina), Chris Jarman (Chenek), John Banks (Robin Lyon), Jane Slavin (Mary). Other parts played by members of the cast.

  • Producer: David Richardson
  •  Script Editor: John Dorney
  •  Executive Producers: Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

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