Alien Heart – Stephen Cole
Alien Heart, is our first of a two part fifth Doctor adventure from the Big Finish Main Range. It sees Nyssa as the companion of the Doctor, it also sees the most famous of the Doctor’s enemies in the shape of the good old pepper pots. There is a slow build over the first part until it becomes apparent that they are behind are rather unscrupulous plot to take over the universe. The story pits the Doctor against what we first think is a virulent alien mutant which Nyssa nicknames the cell spiders. Sticky insecticide beings that seem to be intent on scurrying around a mine controlled by some sort of central intelligence. But for what end are they doing this. Moreover, the Doctor as to come to terms with disappearing planets, and Nyssa being swiped by the same said cell spider creatures. The Doctor joins forces on his quest with two investigatory emissaries from Earth to determine what is going on with both the time anomalies and the disappearance of planets. All is not as it should be. With Nyssa transmated the Doctor is keen to get back his companion, and, the Captain of the Earth mission needs to understand as well, what, evil they face. It comes as no surprise when we hear the familiar tones the Daleks ring out. Once again we are thrown into a battle of the Doctor versus the Evil from Skaro.
Peter Davies and Sarah Sutton return as the comparable pairing. The story does not lack due to the two part presentation as opposed to the one disk flavour that we normally are treated too from Big Finish. In fact perhaps the fact that the stories as they are here presented, perhaps adds to a more quick and choppier style than we are used to, which leads on to a more fast flowing storyline, and, adds to a more tension filled, and anxiety strewn style, which when dealing with the Daleks just makes the whole thing a lot more gripping, no time to worry about the consequences style approach leads to a more overly dynamic edge all in. Great supporting cast, and a huge sound stage as ever from Big Finish make this a very gripping tale, and sets up nicely the follow on story of Dalek Soul
Dalek Soul – Guy Adams
Our final part in the two parter main release this month sees the 5th Doctor become alternative Jekyl & Hyde Doctor. When we are cast into the future where Nyssa is the head virologist working on a lethal chemical weapon that will pave the way for Dalek supremacy. What is interesting here, and made reference in the additional material on the release, is the ever pleasant and appeasing Peter Davidson takes on a rather uncaring, selfish and downright evil persona. It it rather entertaining to listen to the lines that he has to say, whilst we still in our heads hold the picture of him being the Doctor, the complete antithesis of the part that he is playing out in Dalek Soul. Nyssa has nagging and ultimately correct intentional doubts about the work she is carrying out, this is assisted in the main by her laboratory partner who questions her loyalty and her drive to commit to the development of this evil and ultimately fatal weapon which will lead to decimation of the inhabitants of the universe. This whole episode gives us a rare insight in to the talent of Peter playing the part we have come to love but at a different angle to the associative one we have come to love. Nyssa carries the story in the main from start to finish with her consistent nagging difficulties as to why she is doing what she is doing, and why it ultimately does not feel the right thing to do, and fair play to Sarah Sutton for making this episode so believable in it’s execution.
Now weather this two part format that Nick Briggs said was Big Finish intention to sort of tell the same amount of story but over 1 hour as opposed to the four part story that we normally get works or not is largely I think down to the audience, and considering that the majority of the listening audience will be coming from the era when most Who was over 4 episode or even 6 or more then I personally think that this short staccato style story telling has it’s place but alas not for the classic Doctor series.
In summary though this is still a really well told and well polished story, which had me re-listening to it more than once.