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And so the five part audio series Hornet’s Nest comes to an end in Hive of Horror. Unlike the previous installments, the recap here is performed by Captain Mike Yates (played by Richard Franklin) which was a refreshing change to the frenetic ones in the previous episodes. Sadly though, Richard Franklin is no Tom Baker (but more of that later).

It kicks off not quite where the last one left so excitingly off. The cliffhanger is rather glazed over and cheated to be honest; slightly jarring in its clumsiness (though, if you look at it another way, quite funny).

Just as the start of Hive of Horror was a departure for the series, the narration also switches style; here Mike gets in on much of the voice~over action. Which, as I stated earlier, is not a good thing. Franklin does not posses the skills that Baker has in his arsenal and his voice pales significantly by comparison. A very odd decision to be sure and one wonders if Tommy B slipped out during recording for a swift one and left the rest of them to it (including an on~form Rula “Dalek~Killer” Lenska).

When Baker does grace the audience with his presence he’s his usual erotic self; belting out Good King Wenceslas (again!), spouting phrases like “sputum, venom and pulp” (good name for a band) whilst ending the tale maniacally laughing, wishing everyone a ‘Merry Christmas’.

But not even the quirk~meister general can save the finale from being a bit of a non~event. A fitting end, to be utterly truthful, to Hornet’s Nest. A series that was always in the shadow of the absence of The Brigadier (who would have carried the tale much more satisfyingly) but even more in the shade of the towering Tom Baker. Hornet’s Nest always feels like The Tom Baker Show despite the best attempts of Paul Magrs and the excellent production values to make into a Doctor Who story.

Blogtor Rating 6/10


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