February 3, 1999
Presenting Everlasting Films last story of the year 1998, and although I haven't heard every story from 1998 I think it's safe to assume that they left the best until last.
This story is quite glossy and displays many talents this group should be praised for. These people have a limited cast, and they are Americans — which actually tends to increase the professional feel this production radiates.
The story is set on a planet known as Devinaura IV. The first two episodes are good, you've got the accents that give the feel of the working class, etc. all working away in the mines. And then we are introduced with the fact that Devinaura IV is also inhabited by a race known as The Marazians. You never really can understand what exactly these Marazians would look like, but it lets your imagination run wild…especially with them being titled "squids" quite often.
The Earth forces and Marazian forces were in a war in the past, one that spawned a treaty. This involved Earth mining plasium from Devinaura IV and selling it to the Marazians — plasium being a major source of power. The two races are still poised on war; racial discrimination is extremely evident.
Naturally when the Doctor and Dara arrive they are entangled in a web of conspiracy. Someone is sabotaging the mines; the humans think it's the Squids and the Squids think it's the humans.
The first episode gets off to a wonderful start…when one of these accidents actually happens and liquid gold spills from the wall!! But an excellent factor of this story is the Marazians themselves. These chaps have managed to create a pattern and style of speech which is extremely creditable! (Some may debate this.) I think the kind of wargled voice they have does help the alien feel, but credits them as people. Showing that the aliens aren't bad guys and humans caught up in destruction is a major factor in Doctor Who and its success.
I've always believed that the feel they generate here is exactly what a new McGann series SHOULD be like. The wonder was suddenly brought back from episode two. The excitement rose in episode three. And the climax from episode three was, at the least, to say INCREDIBLE!
From episode 4 onwards this story goes from fantastic to a masterpiece of Doctor Who Audio. I can not mention why without releasing any spoilers. But the culprit of the attacks is incredible. I am still dumbfounded by the idea they have risen.
At any rate, the story was excellent. If there is anything wrong with the story however, it would be the ending. The ending is good, but it seems a little rushed and convenient. Just a little bit. It's not a major bad thing. Plus I think the idea they rose in this story from ep4 onwards perhaps could have been explained a little better. (But this would have been quite hard and they had enough to juggle.) Jeff's acting is excellent and he is fast becoming my favourite fan Doctor (next to Rupert Booth. I like you both!) and I am sure the series will get better and better.
If you can only order one Audio Drama, — out of the ones I've heard — this is the one to get. (That or Empire Of The Daleks.)
Last updated: Wednesday, February 3, 1999