The elliptical orbit of the primitive planet Bellotron
carries it into the territories of two warring races - the
Rutan and the Sontarans. When a Terran battle cruiser detects
a strange energy signature on Bellotron's surface, regulations
require the presence of an archaeological specialist...
Taking a leaf from the book of rival BBV, Big Finish have
incorporated an old Doctor Who monster into this Professor
Summerfield adventure, by negotiating the rights with the
creature's creator. In this instance the monster in question
is the shape-shifting Rutan gestalt from The Horror of
Fang Rock, created by Terrance Dicks. Their opponents,
the Sontarans, are also mentioned, but are never encountered
directly. The opening to the story, with much superstitious
talk of falling stars, leads the listener to expect a variation
on the Sontaran tale The Time Warrior, but that is
just a red herring on the part of writer Mike Tucker.
familiar element, but this time from the Big Finish realm,
is the presence of Bev Tarrant, played by Louise Faulkner.
When Tucker created her for the Doctor Who audio drama
The Genocide Machine, the production team briefly considered
replacing her with Bernice, since the two characters have
so much in common: a spirit of adventure, an interest in ancient
artefacts (though not for their academic value) and a glib
tongue. Now you can compare and contrast for yourself by hearing
the two ladies together - though you do have to wait a while.
(I haven't given away any surprises here. Bev is mentioned
on the CD's inner sleeve.)
The story zips along very nicely indeed, aided by some particularly
crisp dialogue. And you don't need to be a Who expert
to enjoy this adventure, as the essential natures of the Rutan
and the Sontarans are clearly, but subtly, explained.
I, for one, will certainly be rootin' for another Bev/Benny