So end Tom Baker’s sixth series of Fourth Doctor Adventures.
And we finally have a story that gives us more insight into the past of his ever-dependable sidekick Romana. Lalla Ward joins Baker in another meaty Marc Platt story to sink our teeth into.
What always gives the final story of these seasons a lift is that they are four-parters. As such feel more true to the era they are set within on the classic TV show. There’s more time to get to know the characters and Platt’s script is the very “alive” characters. Yet the pacing of the story is never slow or laboured.
Firstly, we are introduced to Sartia. A fellow Time Lady and old friend of Romana’s. It’s a nice touch to hear Romana happy at reminiscing about the past. Its wonderful to get more of her backstory explored and Lalla Ward clearly relishes the chance to add more and more layers to a well-established character. Her character is quite extensively studied in Big Finish’s spin-off series ‘Gallifrey‘. But it is great to hear a chunk of her past coming to light in proper good old Doctor Who.
Cast & Characters
Joannah Tincey plays Sartia extremely well. She’s immediately an interesting and diverting character. Jamie Newell puts in a very good performance as Greygul, yet another very good, but still multi-dimensional, villain. Alex Wyndham is very convincing as the outcast Linnis too. His story is tragic and one is left rooting for this being in the hope he finds peace once he’s exiled from his community. Doctor Who always does outcasts and villains so well and Marc Platt has never written a dull villain yet. It’s quite incredible how these writers for Big Finish never seem to run dry of great new ideas.
Funderell has connections with the Time Lords too. But we are mostly left in the dark as to what the planet’s place in Gallifreyan history is. So it whets the appetite and makes you keen to hear the final two parts, where hopefully we will get answers. That’s another thing Doctor Who excels at: giving one a great mystery to think on for a while. And the answers seldom let us down. All we know is Funderell has a glutinous sea that seems to never end and you have to keep moving or you’ll soon be up to your neck!
Direction & Sound
It’s astutely and stolidly directed by Ken Bentley, but one has come to expect no less from this man. The sound design and production as ever too are excellent. Tom Baker is as ever dependable and brilliant as the timeless Fourth Doctor. Despite the fact that this story is more of a Romana story, he never feel shoehorned into the background. The Fourth Doctor can NEVER be shoehorned into the background….
Marc Platt is also clearly nowhere near to running out of steam, in fact The Skin of the Sleek will show that he’s as stoked up a proper steam engine. ‘The Skin of the Sleek’ is a very interesting beginning to be concluded in ‘The Thief Who Stole Time‘. I don’t think many Fourth Doctor fans will be let down by this neat and quirky adventure.
Blogtor Rating: A well-deserved 10 out of 10.
Doctor Who: The Skin of the Sleek is available to buy now from the Big Finish website.
This title was released in August 2017. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until September 30th 2017, and on general sale after this date.
On the planet Funderell you can walk on the ocean. The surface holds you when you move, but if you stand still, you sink. Lights shift in the fathoms and great shapes move beneath your feet – schools of giant electric eels known as Sleeks.
There is no solid land and the only locals are the Wavewalkers, hunters who live in floating villages. But recently some strangers have arrived, pursuing their own distinct agenda.
When the Doctor and Romana lose the TARDIS to the deep, they need help. Which makes finding a fellow Time Lord on the planet very useful. The fact that Time Lord is Sartia, an old friend of Romana’s, is even better!
But this is a planet of secrets. Be careful when you explore its depths. You may just drown.
Note: The adventure continues in Doctor Who – The Fourth Doctor Adventures: The Thief Who Stole Time
Written By: Marc Platt
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), Joannah Tincey (Sartia), Alan Cox(Eamonn Orensky), Kieran Hodgson (Klick Chervain), Des McAleer (Blujaw Skaldson), Alex Wyndham (Linnis Skaldson), Jamie Newall (Greygul), Jane Slavin(Frithra). Other parts played by members of the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor John Dorney
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs