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Audio Drama Review
It has been three months since the Hexford catastrophe, and Mike Yates is trying to show strength of leadership to the villagers. But with morale low and supplies running out, it is increasingly difficult to keep his own hopes up. Unless somebody finds them soon, the future looks bleak. So when the TARDIS materialises on the village green, it seems that help has arrived at last. But with two Doctors apparently at large, there is still the small matter of what was buried under Nest Cottage - not to mention who is clamouring to break through the protective force field. Soon Hexford is under siege once again, and this time an ancient hunger will be sated. Time has run out for the keepers of the Skishtari egg...
The five-disc Serpent Crest saga goes out on a high with Survivors in Space, which also concludes a two-part Second Doctor (David Troughton) mini-arc. All the plot strands are satisfactorily resolved as the narrative returns to Robotov space - though I would have preferred to hear from more of the characters we met in Tsar Wars.
Adding to the nostalgia of this highly unusual multi-Doctor storyline, these final two releases also see the return of Mike Yates (Richard Franklin) and UNIT. The village of Hexford suffers a fate similar to that of UNIT headquarters in a previous Second Doctor comeback, The Three Doctors, only this time it is multiplied several times over in terms of geographical scale.
Serpent Crest had picked up exactly where Paul Magrs’s previous saga, Demon Quest, left off. However, time has passed by since then. Nine months elapsed for Mrs Wibbsey (Susan Jameson) between Aladdin Time and The Hexford Invasion, and even longer for the time-travelling Fourth Doctor (Tom Baker). As we join Mike and the rest of the stranded residents of Hexford (including Nerys Hughes as Deirdre), a further three months have passed for them, and far longer for the Fourth Doctor and Mrs Wibbsey aboard the TARDIS. This brings the narrative back “in synch” with the present day, not long before Christmas 2011.
Such between-episode side trips for the Doctor and Wibbs allow for plenty of untold adventures that could be recorded at some point in the future... but is this the end of their ongoing escapades with AudioGO? The statement that the Fourth Doctor has duties “elsewhere” (i.e. at Big Finish) would suggest that it is the end (but the moment has been prepared for). However, he and Mrs Wibbsey don’t burn their bridges, bidding each other au revoir rather than goodbye. Who knows, maybe Wibbs will have some adventures with the Second Doctor.
I’m delighted to know that this certainly isn’t goodbye from the Fourth Doctor. With Baker’s Big Finish adventures starting in January 2012, let’s just say au revoir.