Big Finish, Fourth Doctor Adventures – 4.05 – Surburban hell

Somewhere in a leafy suburb of North London, someone’s world is ending in pain and misery, their very existence turned upside down by the lack of Marie Rose sauce just as their guests are expected. How can one host a dinner party without a starter!?
4th Doctor Adventures - Surburban Hell
But there is one, small hope! If the Doctor and his companion Leela can be distracted by Ralph’s small talk long enough for some sauce to be borrowed from a neighbour, perhaps the evening can be saved and a disaster avoided! But tasteless prawns and a struggle for topical 70s banter are not the only threats awaiting the Doctor.  There’s a rift in space and time which has lured the TARDIS into another time zone, and now  a strange fog has appeared outside in which lurk blue monsters expecting more than prawns on the menu!

There’s something about the 4th Doctor that fits the 70s like a glove – and even though that’s when the show was made, few of the stories were actually set in that period. But here we get the double whammy of not only a 70s setting but a suburban 70s setting, right down to the fondue set.  

We’re used to Leela as a fish out of water, of course. this time, it’s nice to note, the Doctor is having to tread a bit of water himself as he struggles to blend in with the locals by using  small talk at a dinner party to figure out just why space is behaving in such an erratic way around this typical middle-England house.

Of course, it’s not just the location that’s fun. This play has a great plot with plenty of twists in a script that nonetheless doesn’t try to be too complex.  It rattles along at a brisk pace with plenty of things happening and excellent direction from Nick Briggs . The big bad is perhaps a little cliched but it’s not out of place with the 70s way of doing things and really they’re not in the story all that long.  It’s not as action packed as Death Match but it’s much more intimate with the feeling of a small location shoot.

As I’ve said before Tom was my Doctor and perhaps that’s colouring my reviews slightly but I can’t help but enjoy the 4th Doctor range. And this team up between Tom and Louise Jameson is a heck of a lot of 70s style fun.  It’s more Man about the House than X-Files but all power to its elbow for that. A retro 8/10!

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