The worlds of classic and New Doctor Who meet with explosive effect in the latest release from Big Finish’s UNIT audio drama spin-off series.
Not only do we have the very welcome return of two classic Doctor Who villains, the Silurians and the Sea Devils, but fans also get the added treat of John Levene, Richard Franklin and Katy Manning reprising their cherished roles of John Benton, Mike Yates and Jo Jones formerly Grant! Mix all these elements together with the already winning brew of Jemma Redgrave, Ingrid Oliver and Warren Brown as Kate Stewart, Osgood and Sam Bishop and you have the makings of a wonderful new chapter in UNIT history.
The only question remaining is: does UNIT Assembled bring anything new to Malcolm Hulke’s brilliant and memorable creations?
CALL TO ARMS By Matt Fitton
It is at once thrilling to hear banter exchange between UNIT stalwarts Benton and Yates. Matt Fitton does a terrific job of evoking the Jon Pertwee era with these two fondly remembered characters meeting again at long last! How they mesh with the more up to date characters too is a testament to Matt’s highly polished writing. This story at once feels special. But any light relief is soon replaced as the guys get thrown into a chaotic race for survival that is pretty intense for a first episode.
TIDAL WAVE by Guy Adams
It has been far too long since we had a Sea Devil story for Doctor Who. Guy Adams here brings them back to the forefront with gusto! And added to this we get the joy of Ingrid Oliver’s Osgood being openly a fan of Jo Jones. The exchanges between these two women are catching and infectious. The actresses work well together and elevate this story even higher. Nicholas Briggs also delivers a brilliant performance, this time as the voice of the Sea devils. This story is superb from start to finish.
RETRIEVAL by Guy Adams:
Plaudits must be given to Neve Mackintosh, who here manages easily to bring a different twist to her Silurian character, not just a repeat of the cherished Madame Vastra. She authentically sells Kalana as a determined warrior, and her face-offs with Kate Stewart are highly charged and extremely engaging.
UNITED: By Matt Fitton:
With the monumental climax coming to fruition, somehow Matt Fitton’s wonderful script gives everyone, old UNIT members and new, a share of the limelight to brilliant nostalgic effect. Somehow this set of four stories succeeds admirably in that it sets out to please both old Doctor Who fans and new Doctor Who fans. The ride with the Silurians and Sea Devils is as morally charged and thought provoking as was every story the reptiles appeared in on-screen.
Richard Hope, as Jastrok also deserves a mention for his memorable performance throughout the set. All in all these Silurians are extremely convincingly portrayed as the former rulers of the planet. There is rich emotion running through the race that is very sympathetically portrayed in this highly successful and suspenseful set of beautifully produced audio dramas. All you need to add to the high production values and superb performances is the ever reliable high-quality direction of Ken Bentley and yes, you really are on to a masterpiece.
Let’s hope this won’t be the last we hear from the Silurian and Sea Devil races with Big Finish. They are rightly one of Doctor Who’s stronger duo of species. And if you wish to hear the evidence to prove it, then just give UNIT Assembled a listen!!!!
Malcolm Hulke would have been proud of this sublime Big Finish release. A definite 10 out of 10!
UNIT – ASSEMBLED is now available to buy from Big Finish.
Kate Stewart and her UNIT team investigate and confront alien attacks on the planet Earth. Something is stirring, an old foe to those in UNIT with a long memory. And fortunately, to face an old foe… There are old friends.
4.1 Call to Arms by Matt Fitton
Mike Yates braves a stormy night in the Lakes to help celebrate a milestone for John Benton. An evening of fond reminiscences of old glories and friends awaits. But a long-buried past is about to catch up with them.
Meanwhile, on the rain-lashed moors, what begins as a routine mission for modern-day UNIT quickly becomes a fight for survival.
4.2 Tidal Wave by Guy Adams
When an experimental tidal power generator needs its eco-friendly credentials checked, Kate Stewart calls in an expert.
Soon, Jo Jones is bound for ‘Project Charybdis’ in the South Atlantic, along with an awestruck Osgood.
But out at sea, a treacherous plan is set in motion to awake an ancient race. Beneath the seabed an army is sleeping – an army of Sea Devils!
4.3 Retrieval by Guy Adams
As the Earth’s primeval rulers reclaim their birthright, UNIT must stand against them. Kate Stewart and Osgood venture into a Mediterranean stronghold to retrieve a means to fight back.
But a Silurian warrior is on their trail. Once she has the humans’ scent, Commander Tryska will never give up the hunt.
4.4 United by Matt Fitton
The Silurians hold Great Britain under siege. Grand Marshal Jastrok rules the seas and the skies with reptile forces. On the ground, Commander Kalana crushes all ape resistance.
With Kate Stewart trapped, defence of the realm falls to UNIT’s old guard. Jo Jones, Mike Yates and John Benton are ready to do their duty and stand united.
Deploying May 2017
Written By: Matt Fitton, Guy Adams
Directed By: Ken Bentley
Jemma Redgrave (Kate Stewart), Ingrid Oliver (Osgood), James Joyce (Josh Carter), Warren Brown (Lt. Sam Bishop), Richard Franklin (Mike Yates), John Levene (John Benton), Katy Manning (Jo Jones), Richard Hope (Jastrok), Neve McIntosh (Kalana), Nicholas Briggs (Sea Devils), Nicholas Asbury (Burmaster), Annette Holland (Anne), Alex Tregear (Laura Sale).
Other parts played by the cast.
Producer David Richardson
Script Editor Ken Bentley
Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs