The Doctor and Charley visit the Cimmerian System to unravel
the mystery of its sun, which mysteriously stopped shining
some centuries ago. On Cimmeria IV they discover that native
life forms have infiltrated a scientific base, forcing the
human occupants to embrace the darkness - in more ways than
Who meets Pitch Black? Well, not exactly. The creatures
encountered here are quite different to the flying predators
that appeared in the aforementioned movie, although the gimmick
of a planet that has been plunged into darkness is used here
almost as effectively. Since this story is audio only, we
the listeners are as blind as the characters trapped in the
darkness, and thus we empathise with their helplessness and
fear. Not since Whispers of Terror has Big Finish exploited
its chosen medium so aptly.
has to be said that Nicholas Briggs' rather slight plot does
drag on a little. The production could have done with having
a few minutes of its duration trimmed here and there (the
back sleeve proclaims a running time of 110 minutes, but in
fact the story goes on for more than two hours).
several creepy and/or nasty moments (including certain aspects
that might have come across as either too gruesome or rather
laughable had they been attempted within a visual medium)
help to maintain the listener's interest. So does the exhilarating
character interaction. There's plenty of conflict between
the time travellers, the cynical Russian base commander Orllensa
(Nicola Boyce) and her far from fearless crew (Lee Moone and
Mark McDonnell). Companion Charley (India Fisher) also has
a few choice words to say to the Doctor (Paul McGann), as
she illustrates the less commendable aspects of his latest
incarnation's tendency towards self-sacrifice.
is no follow-up of the "alternate" version of Charley who
came to light during last month's Seasons of Fear.
It would seem that we shall have to wait a little longer for
this particular plot arc to be resolved. Meanwhile, further
seeds for future development are apparently sown during this
of a mood piece than an adventure as such, Embrace the
Darkness manages to elude the label of "worthy but dull"
by virtue of its atmosphere and characterisation.