The Mega, the latest offering from Big Finish starring Katy Manning (Jo Grant) and Richard Franklin (Mike Yate), forms the last part of The Lost Stories range. Listening to this story brings a number of firsts for me.
It is my first story narrated by Katy Manning, my first story in the Lost Stories series and my first story that exceed two and a half hours. Let me address each one in order.
Manning and Franklin
Katy Manning as a narrator is enthusiastic and clear but she sounds her age, aided perhaps by her more recent appearance in The Sarah Jane Adventures all I could do is imagine an older Manning. I don’t intend to be ageist, but in my opinion these stories should transport the listener back to the Seventies and I just cannot imagine a youthful Jo Grant, or a youthful Mike Yates for that matter. Also, I just cannot excuse the horrendous impersonations of the Doctor and the Brigadier. I appreciate neither are professional impressionists, but they would do better to not even attempt something similar so as to avoid distraction.
The Lost Stories is an interesting idea, taking rejected television scripts and turning them into radio stories and if this story is anything to go by, it was a stroke of genius. Perhaps it is the faith of the script editors of Big Finish or the short sightedness of those that binned them in the first place, but this story is excellent. It is a great moral dilemma with enough mystery and action to make the extra terrestrial antagonist all the more thrilling. It is the sort of story that would have really resonated in the Seventies but even more so now, as debate about who has the right to weapons of mass destruction continues to appear in the news. I think it is such a shame that it wasn’t given the visual life it deserves.
However, this audio suffers from its sheer length. The Mega runs at three and a half hours, this is not a couple of commutes worth of listening, or something to enjoy while doing the ironing, you have to really want to dedicate the best part of an afternoon to listening to this adventure and given the irritation at the accents, I really struggled.
Not for the casual fan, but for those who can imagine the wonderful Jon Pertwee and a youthful Katy Manning will find this an excellent story, if a bit long!