Thursday, 4 October 2012
Audio: Doctor Who - Seasons of Fear
This offering from Paul Cornell and Caroline Symcox is an excellent adventure for the Eighth Doctor and Charley (Paul McGann and India Fisher) full of fun, excitement and changing locations. Cornell's avowed intent was to bring back the quest type story of early Who where our heroes dashed from location to location and era to era. With Symcox's academic background adding some historical accuracy and colour, Seasons of Fear is an excellent romp that even cheekily brings back a famously rubbish monster of the past as the Big Bad.
Finally bringing Charley to Singapore for her date (and the reason why she'd snuck off in the ill fated R101) the Doctor is confronted by Sebastian Grayle, an immortal foe he has yet to meet but who claims to have killed the Time Lord. Tracing references to Grayle to Roman England is the start of a series of encounters that will take the travellers from Roman times to the court of Edward the Confessor and on to the Hellfire Club in the nineteenth century. Can the Doctor stop Grayle from achieving immortality and also stop him from giving the world over to the Nimon, bull like marauders who would suck the Earth dry?
Seasons of Fear barely puts a foot wrong with a constantly moving plot, some sparkling dialogue and zesty performances from the regulars and the guest cast. Stephen Perring as Grayle is especialy good, portraying different versions of the same man over time, each one subtlely different to the last. We also get some narration from McGann taking us back to how he started as the Doctor, giving the initial voice over in the TV movie. Without their silly bull heads and platform shoes the Nimon actually make a decent monster and the plotting is tight and the resolution effective and even touching.
So, full marks to the writers who give us laughs, excitement and convey each historical setting with some lovely touches. Not only this but we get the first appearance of Don Warrington's narrator (whose identity is currently a secret) and a major development in the Charley Pollard arc as an evil doppleganger turns up with sinister intent. This second series of McGann stories has really taken off with the feeling that things are slowly but relentlessly moving towards an exciting climax.
GK Rating: *****