Celestial Intervention Agency operative Narvin finds himself on a mission to the planet Bellascon, a little world dabbling in something very dangerous.
But with the Fourth Doctor already in the thick of the action, can the pair put their differences aside before the timeline is erased completely?
Normally the ‘Short Trips’ range features someone played a TV companion narrating a story with a heavy focus on their character. But Big Finish has been shaking up for formula lately. Not just here. But with last year’s ‘How to Win Planets and Influence People‘ and upcoming release ‘I Am The Master’. The ‘Short Trips’ range has been branching out.
So maybe it’s no surprise that ‘Erasure’ uses Narvin, a character from the ‘Gallifrey’ range, as the narrator. With Sean Carlsen reprising his role, Narvin recounts his adventure to his comrades in the ‘Gallifrey’ cast.
It’s been a while since Gary Russell’s name has been attached to writing duties on Big Finish but Erasure marks a triumphant return. Absence has made the hearts grow fonder as ‘Erasure’ reminds you why he was so beloved in the first place. His enjoyable prose allows Carlsen to let loose at the funny moments and captures character perfectly. Russell shows a deft ability in handling the sombre tone of the Fourth Doctor’s final days. In fact, it really does feel like the Doctor of 1981. You can almost imagine Tom Baker performing this story. He is funny; he is thunderously angry, but he is still the Doctor.
Surely a staple of Russell’s writing is the time-twisting elements, which are also back. Though a little toned down as this story only runs for forty minutes. But the limited time is used to full effect with Russell expertly spreading the action across three main set pieces. In a short play, moving the action around like that is no easy feat. Not least because he also pulls double-duty as director. There’s a palpable benefit from having the same creative voice writing and directing the work in how the final product will sound and look.
What can be said about Sean Carlsen other than he is absolutely brilliant? His narration is perfect and captures the Doctor and Adric superbly. Narvin is used well and gives us a peek into the character’s early years, which was an unexpected insight to get on a character we’ve been following across Big Finish for well over a decade. It is certainly interesting to see that he has a real dark side.
Russell hasn’t forgotten the budding romance Narvin shared with Leela. But, again, this is kept consistent with the character being early in his life. As one of his first encounters with the Doctor, the best part about this story is probably Narvin’s initial reactions to the Doctor and Adric. Russell writes the scene brilliant and Carlsen performs it perfectly.
‘Erasure’ is a brilliant forty minute trip to take. It’s great seeing Gary Russell attached to Big Finish again in such a superb outing. With great writing, direction and performances, ‘Erasure’ certainly isn’t one to be forgotten…
Doctor Who: Short Trips Monthly is a series of new short stories read by an original cast member.
Release #40 is a Fourth Doctor and Adric story told by Narvin on Gallifrey
The Celestial Intervention Agency, a shadowy, unspoken of part of the Time Lord hierarchy. Beloved and loathed in equal measure by various Presidents and High Councils the millennias over. But they serve a very important function: they keep the time lines safe and clear – they do the darker, dirtier jobs that most Time Lords would prefer not to know even need doing.
CIA Sub-Coordinator Narvin has always taken his oath to uphold the Worshipful Laws of Gallifrey very seriously. But when he is sent on a mission to investigate the planet Bellascon, even he hasn’t reckoned with the force of nature that is the Fourth Doctor, who has – one might say – his own way of dealing with things, and his own views on people like Narvin. But somehow the two must overcome their instincts and work together to stop the web of time being erased forever…
Producer Ian Atkins
Script Editor Ian Atkins
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs
Written By: Gary Russell
Directed By: Gary Russell
Seán Carlsen (Narvin)