Jemma Redgrave and Ingrid Oliver remind us just why they were cast as UNIT scientists Kate Stewart and Osgood in this rip-snorter of an audio drama.
Redgrave commands every scene that Stewart is in delivering a performance full of compassion and concern for the human race, laced with a ferocity against the alien invaders you would expect a lioness to have as she protects her cubs.
Oliver somehow manages to make uber nerd, and of course Doctor fan, Osgood more loveable the more she plays her. She has an adorable vulnerability about her, mixed with the resourcefulness of a renegade Time Lord.
Stewart and Osgood, joined by Sam Hunt (Warren Brown), find themselves up to their necks in an investigation that leads them to a race of intergalactic ninjas. The invaders are after a lost artefact that has somehow ended up in the UNIT archives and will kill to get it back. And if Stewart hands it over the aliens will kill anyone who has knowledge of its secrets. The problem is the artefact, and a whole load of others from the black archives, have been loaned out to industrialist Felicity Lyme (Alice Krige) who has designs on unleashing its secret on the world.
This story is told over four hour-long episodes written by Matt Fritton and Andrew Smith, each building on the episode before. It has an epic, grand, scale which trots the globe in a way that televised Doctor Who stories can’t afford to do.
Being a UNIT story you know the Doctor is not going to turn up top save the day, but there’s plenty of nods to him including a TARDIS materialising ringtone and a text alert that sounds like a distorted cloister bell.
Despite Brown and Krige being well-known actors with distinctive voices, neither are cast to type and do a stunning job in their respective roles.
If you like UNIT’s appearance in new Doctor Who, this audio drama doesn’t disappoint.
Blogtor Who Rating – 10/10
UNIT – Shutdown was released in June 2016. It will be exclusively available to buy from the Big Finish website until August 31st, 2016, and on general sale after this date.
Big Finish Synopsis
Kate Stewart and her UNIT team investigate and confront alien attacks on the planet Earth in this new 5 disc box set.
2.1 Power Cell by Matt Fitton
Osgood and Captain Josh Carter are sent to investigate the disappearance of a UNIT scientist.
Meanwhile, alien technology has fallen into the hands of Lyme Industries, and Kate Stewart can’t persuade the company’s CEO, Felicity Lyme, to give it back.
But UNIT find themselves fighting a third battle when innocent people start to die. Who are the mysterious assassins? And what does Felicity Lyme want with top secret alien technology?
2.2 Death in Geneva by Andrew Smith
With few people left to trust, and with assassins on their tail, Kate and Osgood race to UNIT Command in Geneva. Will General Avary be able to help them?
But when death follows UNIT all the way from the English countryside to the snowy slopes of the Alps, Captain Carter finds himself in a race against time.
As the body count rises, Kate struggles to separate friend from foe, danger circles Osgood ever closer, and, high in the mountains, Josh comes face to face with the enemy…
2.3 The Battle of the Tower by Andrew Smith
The threat is now clear, and Kate Stewart retreats to UNIT HQ with her most trusted colleagues. She has no choice but to place the Black Archive into lockdown, and the Tower of London is where UNIT will make its stand.
While the capital sleeps, an alien horde is gathering, ready to rise from the shadows to attack Earth’s greatest defence force inside its own stronghold.
The Tower is infiltrated, and UNIT must hold the line. At any cost. Lock and load…
2.4 Ice Station Alpha by Matt Fitton
Caught between human greed and an unstoppable alien power, Kate Stewart leads her closest allies on one final, desperate mission. This could be the very last chance for the human race.
But the UNIT team has been declared rogue, and ruthless military forces are in pursuit as they race across the globe. Kate calls Lieutenant Sam Bishop to their aid, while Josh and Osgood head out across the frozen Antarctic plains to try and prevent a disaster no-one else knows is coming.
Written By: Matt Fitton, Andrew Smith
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Ingrid Oliver (Osgood), Warren Brown (Sam Bishop), James Joyce (Captain Josh Carter), Alice Krige (Felicity Lyme), Asif Khan (Jay Roy) Tyrone Huggins (Dr Kenton Eastwood), Nigel Carrington (Sir Peter Latcham), Beth Chalmers (Anna/Radio Announcer/Quizmaster), Harry Ditson (General Grant Avary), Dan Li (Dokan/Alien Leader), Akira Koieyama (Chiso/Tengobushi Assassins), Stephen Billington (Commander Bergam), Jot Davies (Sebastien/Major Disanto). Other parts portrayed by the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Ken Bentley, Matt Fitton
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs