The latest release from the Big Finish Doctor Who Monthly Adventures is ‘Ghost Walk’. A story that takes the concept of tour guides and haunted locations on a dangerously exciting stroll.
It begins, mildly enough, on a ghost walk through haunted catacombs. The mood is light, if slightly teasing of the profession, and the humour lures us in. Things begin to grow rather ominous. Is this a scam or an elaborate hoax? Perhaps performance art or maybe it’s for real? All this before the theme tune even kicks in.
The plot unfolds gorgeously before us, pulling us along as if by some phantom hand. What started off as an attempt to listen to part one of this four part story, led to the immediate continuation of part two, then three, and why not finish it in all in one go? The cliffhangers are masterful! Writer James Goss doesn’t give us straight forward follow ups. In fact this drama gets rather timey wimey. We don’t immediately get resolutions to our episodic ends, making this, what could have been a standard ghost story, into a real nail biter. Right down to the final moments this is gripping.
Fenella Woolgar guest stars as Leanne and does a terrific job of stealing the show. Doctor Who fans will no doubt remember Woolgar from the episode ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp’ where she played Agatha Christie. Leanne is a well fleshed out character, both through script and performance. She has flaws but is still likeable and handles the situations as humanly as one could expect. For fans that’s the best kind of companion. If not returning as Leanne, or to the 5th Doctor, it only makes sense that Woolgar become a long running companion to some Doctor, somehow.
The supporting cast are almost all well known actors that give terrific performances. Each actor brings weight and depth to their character. Stephen Greif shows up as Sabaoth. A villain that could have fallen flat but is powerful and intriguing. Carolyn Seymour plays the frustrating Mrs. Stubbs with great humanity and Sacha Dhawan gives a gentle and layered performance as Matthew.
The regular cast are all onboard as well and give us some fantastic moments. Peter Davison, as the Doctor, and Janet Fielding, as Tegan, have some wonderful banter while carrying this story with ease. Matthew Waterhouse returns as Adric in a secondary role. He’s as charming as Adric gets. Nyssa has a nice side story all to herself which puts her in real peril, and Sarah Sutton makes us fear for her. Not an easy task when we know that they’ll continue on. Sutton is outstanding here.
Daniel Burnett does a superb job of creating atmosphere and tension through his sound design. Instead of corridors in spaceships or bases, we’re underground in catacombs, and outside in villages. None of it is played up or particularly fancy. It feels real, almost like Survivors. This way, when things do get dramatic or frightening, it feels dramatic and frightening. This isn’t an adventure story so much as a one of survival and it sounds like it.
The music by Benji Clifford is much the same. You almost don’t take notice of it because it works so well alongside the sound. It’s upon listening to the music suites that you can appreciate how much it elevates the tension.
Let’s not over look that powerful cover art which is reminiscent of classic movie posters. Simon Holub gives us a beautiful and terrifying image which really captures the essence of what this ghost story is.
Ghost Walk is written with style and purpose. The departures from traditional narrative propel this adventure into one that will, no doubt, go down as a 5th Doctor must. It’s creepy, tense and full of atmosphere with dashes of humour. Top guest stars elevate this story while our TARDIS team explore more of their characters.
There’s not much more you could ask for from this story. You’re even going to get a guaranteed second listen out of it, so it’s certainly worth the cost. Even if the 5th Doctor isn’t your Doctor, take a chance on this one. From the opening scream to the final moments this is the kind of drama fans will devour.
Big Finish have earned top marks on this release. Pick up your Copy of Ghost Walk at Big Finish.
This title was released in February 2018. It will be exclusively available to buy from the BF website until March 31st 2018, and on general sale after this date.
This is a city of ghosts and no-one knows them better than Leanne. Twice a night she leads tourists to visit the most haunted sites – the Hanging Yard, the Witch Pool, the Screaming House, and, of course, the Catacombs.
Leanne’s realised the ghosts of the city are real. Something’s lurking in the Catacombs – an ancient force that has been growing in the darkness for centuries. Sabaoth is returning and they must be stopped before they devour the world. Leanne knows this, because a ghost told her.
A ghost called The Doctor.
Written By: James Goss
Directed By: Barnaby Edwards
Peter Davison (The Doctor), Janet Fielding (Tegan Jovanka), Sarah Sutton (Nyssa), Matthew Waterhouse (Adric), Fenella Woolgar (Leanne), Sacha Dhawan (Matthew), Stephen Greif (Sabaoth), Carolyn Seymour (Mrs Stubbs), Philip Childs (Giles), John Banks (Louie), Rebecca Tromans (Nancy)
Other roles played by the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Guy Adams
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs