Sometimes the most terrifying place in the world can be the most normal. When the Doctor, Flip and Constance visit a caravan park in Abbey Marston they are not in for a relaxing holiday. It’s not that people don’t come to Abbey Marston to get away from it; it’s just that people no longer here sometimes come to visit.
There’s a reason radios, tapes and portable TVs are banned. While there’s no signal there’s something that can just be made out in the static. Something that shouldn’t be there. And when the static comes the fog soon follows and you may be shocked at what will emerge from the mist.
This story has one of the most engaging ideas I’ve heard in Doctor Who in a long time. The first half is much more Sapphire and Steel than 80’s who. It’s a supernatural setup that keeps building; with unnerving ethereal ideas unsettle both the listener and the Doctor himself. For a long time events that should be impossible keep happening and no explanation is attempted. Ghosts, recent and ancient history and the creepy contents of hollow trees are thrown at the listener and provide a gloriously macabre tale that is impossible to predict what’s going on.
The second half of the story does revert to a more standard monster of the week with a more grounded scientific explanation for events. But it manages to do this in a way that doesn’t undermine the great work built up in the first half. The monstrous threat isn’t any less scary once it’s origin and motives are revealed and its implementation is as chilling as any foe Big Finish have created.
As well as being the creepiest tale since Chimes of Midnight this story also manages to juggle time about in a way I don’t recall any story, both on TV and in Big Finishes many ranges, doing. There are some homages, such as a nice nod to Invasion of the Body Snatches and The Fog but they take some sci fi/horror staples and then weave them into the story in fresh ways. Jonathan Morris has a great track record of tales for Big Finish and this is a contender for his best work yet, filled with twists and resolutions that are unexpected and satisfying.
The cast also excels in this tale. The normality of Scott Chambers as Andy Glover and Pippa Nixon ans Joanna Nash grounds the tale in a way that enhances the supernatural. David Graham’s Percy is also a delight; an enigmatic mix of grumpy old man who’s not what he seems. It will take a while before you can decide just what he is or what his motivates are.
While Brian Protheroe’s Captain Hardwick is perhaps a fairly standard military character but he’s so enthusiastically played you don’t care.
As you’d expect in a tale called ‘Static’ sound is a major element in the story. But the visuals that the story creates are just as important. This would have been an amazing tale to see in the 80’s and it’s grounded location makes it very easy to visualise.
This is some of the best work Big Finish have done recently; and it’s up there with the best work Big Finish have ever done. This is a strong TARDIS team and Colin Baker is on fire in this tale. This is his Doctor at it’s finest and I can’t recommend this tale enough.
Written By: Jonathan Morris
Directed By: Jamie Anderson
Colin Baker (The Doctor), Lisa Greenwood (Flip Jackson), Miranda Raison (Mrs Constance Clarke), Scott Chambers (Andy Clover / Sergeant Webster), Pippa Nixon (Joanna Nash), Jo Woodcock (Susannah Nash), David Graham (Percy Till), Brian Protheroe (Captain Hardwick), Chris Dale (Soldiers / Static). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Alan Barnes
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs