Dodgy dealings at a desert ore-processing station lead Operations
Supervisor Rull into a twisted web of violence and corruption,
which also appears to bring Company Chairholder Uvanov face
to face with the remains of an old enemy. People are being
manipulated. Psychostrategist Carnell is the obvious culprit
- but who is he working for...?
didn't realise it until recently, but when Chris Boucher wrote
his second Doctor Who novel, Corpse Marker,
he effectively united the fictional universes of Who
and Blake's 7, a link that is now being exploited to
the full by this series of dramas. The novel featured the
character of Carnell, who had previously appeared in Weapon,
one of several B7 episodes that were penned by Boucher.
The role of Carnell is reprised in this series by the original
actor, Scott Fredericks.
allusions to the storm mine setting of The Robots of Death,
and that serial's villain, Taren Capel, this psychological
thriller has more in common with the tone of Boucher's Blake's
7 scripts than with his Who work. Accordingly,
Carnell plays a more significant role in this story than he
did during the preceding one, the series opener Occam's
himself provided the script for Death's Head. I have
long held the opinion that this writer's talents are better
suited to television than to novels, but I have revised that
opinion in light of this audio production, which demonstrates
that he is a master of sardonic dialogue for any performed
cynical exchanges that take place between, for example, Iago
(Paul Darrow) and Uvanov (Russell Hunter) or between Carnell
and practically anybody else he speaks to, are laden with
barbed double meanings and sometimes almost Shakespearean
word play. Even the brutal Rull (Trevor Cooper) gets his own
brand of witty banter. "My patronage can be advantageous,"
Firstmaster Strecker (Peter Tuddenham) informs him. "Thank
you," replies Rull, "but I have enough people patronising
me as it is!" As with the plays of the bard himself, Boucher's
dialogue works much better when brought to life by talented
actors, as it is here, than when printed on a page.
dialogue gems include Iago's assertion, delivered in Darrow's
trademark deadpan style, that an unexpected visitor has been
thoroughly searched: "If he is carrying a weapon, it's not
going to emerge for at least six hours... and it'll want wiping
down before he can use it."
well-acted head game of labyrinthine duplicity.