It’s a new year and Big Finish has a fresh line up of Doctor Who Monthly Adventures starting with ‘Devil In The Mist‘. There may not be any new Doctor Who on our screens until 2020 but Big Finish will keep us satiated with new and incredible stories. ‘Devil In The Mist‘ is no exception.
This reviewer is not completely up to date on the Peter Davison years though I’m well aware of the Fifth Doctor and his companions. I mention this only because there are a few things I felt as though I may have missed, but at no point did that stop my enjoyment. In fact, it only enhanced my interest in the Fifth Doctor’s era.
The TARDIS team we think of most often for the Fifth Doctor, certainly with Big Finish, is Tegan and Nyssa, perhaps even with Adric. However, we’re treated to a rare and exciting TARDIS team this month. Tegan, Turlough and Kamelion are the most unlikely of trios. In the televised programme the combination was not seen much so my curiosity was alerted and hopefully yours will be too.
Devil In The Mist
‘Devil in the Mist‘ hits the ground running and rarely takes the time to stop. Sometimes these action packed stories only manage to hold one note despite constant explosions and panting. That can be both over and underwhelming. Here though it’s so well written and produced that you get caught up in it and it’s as much of a roller-coaster as an audio drama can be. We’re given time to take a short breath before being plunged deeper into the story and mayhem.
While the initial plot is rather straight forward, the TARDIS lands on a prison ship and things go wrong, it’s all about the interactions. We’re tossed from situation to situation but Tegan is the glue of this story. Writer Cavan Scott explores some interesting ideas about this particular team which forces us to question the Doctor and his intentions to some extent. But then there’s all that action!
Cavan Scott, who we don’t hear near enough from at Big Finish these days (check out his Star Wars comics if you’re looking for him), puts these characters through an awful lot. Tegan, played typically wonderfully by Janet Fielding, feels more fragile than ever. Despite being strong, she’s never quite satisfied and ‘Devil In The Mist‘ is going to push that to the extreme. How Fielding manages to be both frustrating and sympathetic is exquisite. Her work with Big Finish is stellar and her performance is so grounded, despite sometimes literally having no ground. It is simply tremendous. Toss in Mark Strickson as Turlough, and Jon Culshaw taking on the role of Kamelion and the tension is dynamite!
The entire cast give it their all here. There’s no time for weak performances with this relatively small band of actors. I can almost imagine director Ken Bentley pushing for more. Especially if they’re to live up to the sound design and music both provided by Andy Hardwick. It’s powerful stuff with Hardwick’s work elevating this already excellent story. The cover art by Will Brooks is also wonderfully visual and not just for the long overdue inclusion of Kamelion.
The Doctor Who Monthly Adventure range from Big Finish is off to a superb start in 2019. Despite my lack of familiarity I was able to enjoy this story to the fullest. The cast and crew don’t hold back and deliver a top grade product that sets the bar high for the rest of the year. The dynamic between these characters is fascinating and it’ll be interesting to see where Big Finish go with their Kamelion stories from here on.
The TARDIS deposits the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and their android ally Kamelion aboard a prison ship. A ship with just one prisoner: Nustanu, last warlord of the Zamglitti – monstrous, mind-bending mimics able to turn themselves into mist.
A ship that’s in trouble, and about to make a crash-landing…
On a planet of mists.
Written By: Cavan Scott.
Directed By: Ken Bentley.
Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan), Mark Strickson (Turlough), Jon Culshaw (Kamelion), Anjella Mackintosh (Orna), John Voce (Rako), Simon Slater (Nustanu). Other parts played by members of the cast.