Current Paul Spragg Writing Opportunity winner The Lichyrwick Abomination provides a staggeringly perfect portrait of dread and regret
For the past several years Big Finish have commemorated their late colleague Paul Spraggs and his dedication to nurturing raw talent with a very special writing opportunity. Each year the panel selects one applicant who has never written for Big Finish. The winning script is then recorded and released as a free Doctor Who Short Trip. This year Joe Vevers has written the winning short story, The Lichyrwick Abomination, with Jacob Dudman narrating. And the end result is an almost ridiculously confident and skillful affair. It belies Vevers’ status as a newcomer and sits comfortably among the work of Big Finish veterans like James Goss.
The free story features the Ninth Doctor visiting a strangely afflicted seaside town of Lichyrwick. It’s a place where everyone rushes to be home behind locked doors before sundown. A community united in dread of the eerie moment every night “the gulls fall silent.” Eccleston’s take on the Doctor is one that Dudman particularly excels at. Indeed, even though the man himself is back for Big Finish’s Ninth Doctor Adventures this is a credible alternative. These days Eccleston himself leans more towards his Doctor’s tendency to mask the pain with a cheery smile. But Dudman adeptly recreates the more reflective, sombre aspect that was as much a part of Series One. And, naturally, as soon as the Doctor smells a mystery he can’t let the matter drop. No matter how strongly the townspeople ask him to let it lie…
Vevers’ script echoes the Ninth Doctor era’s fascination with the ‘no such thing as ordinary’ people the Doctor encounters
Recruiting local teenager Malcolm as his accomplice, in that way the Doctor does, he soon learns how terror stalks this small Scottish town by night. The abomination is rarely seen and those that do dare look upon it won’t describe it. But worse, those observers die from one cause or another soon after. So instead they hide in their beds as the strange, lurching sound of the beast dragging one limb behind it passes by their door. Malcolm has his own relationship with the beast and its curse. It’s revealed in a pre-credits teaser that, even by itself, is as perfectly balanced as a Rob Shearman short story.
In the spirit of Eccleston’s time as the Doctor, The Lichyrwick Abomination is as much a coming of age story for Malcolm, as interested in his emotional connection to events as battling monsters. And the ultimate entwining of events is eminently satisfying both as clever piece of plotting, and as a character piece.
One of the most finely sculpted Doctor Who narratives of the past year, it’s almost astonishing that this is a free giveaway from a first time Big Finish writer. But it’s one Blogtor Who can thoroughly recommended for you to pick up.
Doctor Who Short Trips:The Lichyrwick Abomination
Every night, a creature stalks the streets of Lichyrwick. Everyone in town knows that catching sight of it is a death sentence, and no one knows this better than Malcolm. Yet, he won’t be able to hide away much longer. The Doctor’s in town, and it’s time Malcolm finally faced the Lichyrwick Abomination.
Even if it kills him.
Doctor Who Short Trips:The Lichyrwick Abomination is available as a free download from the Big Finish site.