Nyssa is desperately ill, so the Doctor takes her to the only
place in the universe that might offer a cure. But the inhabitants
of this so-called paradise are a surprisingly superstitious
people, and distrustful of outsiders. The Doctor may have
to make a deal with a devil...
difficult to review this audio adventure without giving away
a twist near the beginning of the story that Big Finish don't
want me to spoil. What I can say is that writer Lance
Parkin has picked up the ongoing plot arc developed in The
Land of the Dead and Winter for the Adept - that
of Nyssa's burgeoning telepathic abilities - and brought it
to an entirely satisfactory resolution. He even manages to
tie in her fainting incident at the end of Four to Doomsday.
didn't particularly care for Parkin's depiction of Davison's
Doctor in his Missing Adventure novel Cold Fusion.
In that book, the Time Lord's fifth incarnation came across
as rather ineffectual compared with the seventh. Here, however,
the writer gets the Fifth Doctor just right: he is self-depreciating
at times, but also capable of some quite sardonic comments.
"It's a figure of speech," he explains, having said the wrong
thing before the superstitious natives, "I really must stop
Fifth Doctor also enjoys a good rapport with the local physician,
Shayla (played by special guest star Susan Penhaligon, who
once auditioned for the role of companion Jo Grant). The teaming
of the Doctor and Shayla recalls the relationships he enjoyed
on TV with Todd in Kinda and Jane Hampden in The
she spends most of her early scenes bedridden, Sarah Sutton's
Nyssa also gets to strut her stuff - quite literally on one
occasion, as she teaches Shayla's assistant Sabian (Ian Hallard)
to dance the Charleston. In fact, Nyssa does quite a bit of
flirting with him. She also stands up for herself by toting
a weapon, and she is not afraid to use it. This is an aspect
of her character that many writers have overlooked, but Nyssa
used similar means in The Keeper of Traken and Arc
of Infinity, both penned by her creator, Johnny Byrne.
chief bad guy, a godlike entity called Kwundaar, is portrayed
with relish by Stephen Greif (the original Travis in Blake's
7). The effects added to the actor's voice effectively
convey the impression that this being is only partially substantial
yet also hideously twisted in appearance. Unfortunately, it
is occasionally difficult to make out what Greif is actually
middle two episodes of this four-part tale are a little slow
moving, but overall this is a literate and stylish adventure.