Its a big cast and they work very well. Hywel John and Victoria Finney flesh out a couple of low level minions while Trevor Littledale and David Garfield pull no punches for the more major characters. Garfield adds several layers to the character of Stream; a figure who’s actions and motives are hard to pin down throughout the story. Susan Sheridan, who plays the voice of Trillian on the Hitchhiker radio adaptation, plays two parts; one young and one old; and has the hard task of often talking to herself. She handles this well though the young boy she plays comes close at times to being a bit to street urchin.
Colin Baker and Peri are a delight to listen to. Peri gets a bit mumsy in this one as she gets paired up with the young boy for a good part of the tale. The Doctor is much more laid back and less acidic than the first two tales which is a relief. His verbal sparing with his enemies combines well with his fond chats with his old wartime friend Reverend Foxwell. While the Fifth Doctor was quintessentially English Colin Baker shows that this side of the Doctor hasn’t disappeared after the regeneration; fitting easily into what almost feels like a Miss Marple adventure. The music suits that setting as well. Gone are the very synthy sounds of the earlier stories, its a much more softer sound for this story which fits well.
Whats in a name? RTD has always been keen on anagrams: take Torchwood for example ( anagram of Doctor Who but you knew that). Now this may be spreading to Big Finish; though there is a reason for this. Unlike the other stories in this missing season range this story has been altered. Not through choice but due to a license issue that prevents a well known face from Dr Who turning up. Rather than a complete rewrite the producers have chosen the path of obfuscation. Hints and innuendo instead of cold hard facts. Gray is the color, not black or white. If, buts and maybe’s is all you’ll get… for now. This confusing meander simple means that the reveal of a certain character to be someone else can’t happen and you’ll be left waiting for a reveal that doesn’t come… yet.
Perhaps, if things get sorted in future, this could lead to a nice follow up story. While it doesn’t overly harm the story it does make certain bits feel forced. The Doctor can’t quite put his finger on things: someone is familiar; methods are not new; but he cannot put 2 and 2 together. Its a minor niggle and its clearly not through Big Finishes choice so I’m happy to excuse it. Its a nice touch that this area is well covered int he extras for the CD.
Its another good story in this range that is well worth catching.
A solid 8/10, recommended.