Eight years ago, the luxury yacht Perfect Day vanished
without trace, together with its captain and thirteen of its
passengers. Their removal from Time has caused ripples, which
have been gradually widening, and now agents have been assigned
to investigate. Sapphire, Steel and Gold gatecrash the shipboard
wedding of Richard Charles Muldoon and Jennifer Louise Holloway
- but they aren't the only uninvited guests. Somebody has
seen the future, and they don't intend to let it happen. For
better, for worse...
Sapphire & Steel audio dramas have shown a distinct
tendency towards recycling elements from previous stories,
and this one is no exception. The difference this time is
that writer Steve Lyons borrows not from the Sapphire &
Steel television series but from Doctor Who. The
fate of the Perfect Day, removed from its proper time,
its passengers and crew doomed to repeat the events of the
same day over and over again (at least until the time travellers
arrive to sort things out), bears more than a passing resemblance
to that of the SS Bernice in the Jon Pertwee serial
Even so, this is a very enjoyable tale.
A more welcome bit of repetition is the return of Mark Gatiss
as the arrogant Gold, to whom we were introduced in Big Finish's
first Sapphire & Steel release, The
Passenger, also penned by Lyons. Gold is eager
for excitement and impatient for action, sometimes dangerously
so, especially when he is separated from the calming influence
of Sapphire (Susannah Harker).
Harker herself has come a long way since The Passenger,
in which she came across as a little too cold for my liking.
Here the most empathic of the elemental agents is suitably
Sapphire recalls that she and Steel (David Warner) were "indisposed"
eight years ago, when the Perfect Day disappeared.
This could indicate that the agents were still ensnared in
the trap set for them by the Transient Beings in Assignment
VI as recently as 1999.
A ship in a bottle provides plenty of mileage for bottle-related
allusions and euphemisms, some of them deliberate, some of
them perhaps not so. The most obvious is that of letting the
genie out of the bottle, as a dangerous force escapes from
its confines. One of the passengers, James (Matthew Steer),
an alcoholic, searches for answers to his problems in a bottle,
though not in the manner you might expect. I somehow doubt,
however, that Lyons intended the double meaning of certain
characters "having the bottle" or "losing their bottle".
The moral of the story also concerns parents not wanting to
let their children grow up, fly the nest and go out into the
big wide world, here symbolised by a future that is never
allowed to arrive.
total running time of this audio drama is just under two hours,
rather than the 100 minutes stating on the back of the CD.
Perfect Day, I'm glad I spent it with you.
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