The Merseyside docs are famous for the ships they’ve built – but the Doctor, Mel and Ace are about to discover the newly reopened yards are not building the kind of ship you might expect. A mysterious customer, a no questions asked (or at least answered) approach from the new owner and a near magical Dark Alloy building material are going to ensure the latest vessel launched from these docks is like nothing else on Earth. The workers pour their blood, sweat and tears into their work. But this time the blood is going to be much more literal.
I do like the team of up the 7th Doctor, Ace and Mel. It’s a good dynamic and all three of them bring an energy and enthusiasm to the roles that makes the ears perk up and takes the story up a notch. While it’s a fun story, with an 80s Who vibe, it’s more a romp than complex mystery. But that’s not a bad thing and the tale isn’t without a job lot of nice twists and, for 80s Who, some very gruesome moments.
The aliens have a nice twist that fits well with the 7th Doctors period enemies: while very different, their mystical elements fit in well with Fenric or the Destroyer, given the villains’ mix of magic and technology.
The plot point of Mel meeting up with an old friend never really gets developed, and that’s perhaps one minor regret from this tale. That felt like it could lead to something more and while Todd Heppenstall interacts well with Bonnie Langford it did seem there should have been a bit more to that plot. Some of the story’s other parts make up for this though, with the spies, portals to other worlds and sacrificial nature of the craft the docks adding some interesting elements.
If you like the 7th Doctor stories then this is a solid and enjoyable tale.
Written By: Eddie Robson
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Bonnie Langford (Mel Bush), Julie Graham (Carolyn), Jade Anouka (Danuta), Todd Heppenstall (Stuart Dale), Clare Calbraith (Orla), Louis Tamone (Vinny), Ignatius Anthony (Lee).
Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs