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Slarn with the Sixth Doctor and Peri
In 1985, ‘Doctor Who’ was on trial for its life in more ways than one! The BBC had decided to postpone the TV series ‘Doctor Who’ for eighteen months, which caused an outcry among the fans.
There were campaigns for the show to return including stickers; telephone campaigns and a charity music single called ‘Doctor in Distress’. But it was guaranteed that though the TV show would return.
In that interim during the hiatus of 1985/86, there was one official ‘Doctor Who’ story made before the TV series came back in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. That was the radio adventure…called ‘Slipback’.
‘Slipback’ is a six-part adventure by Eric Saward. When I say ‘six-part adventure’, I actually mean that it’s six ten-minute episodes that was broadcast on ‘Pirate Radio Four’ between July and August 1985.
The story stars Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. It was great to hear Colin and Nicola as the Doctor and Peri in this since I’d been hearing them in those Big Finish audio stories.
But this is not like a Big Finish audio! Oh no! It’s quite unusual and unique in its own way, as the six episodes run past quite quickly. Also there doesn’t seem enough story to tell in all the six episodes.
I don’t think ‘Slipback’ is a great ‘Doctor Who’ adventure to listen to. But it has been fun and interesting. I’m not sure what the point of the story was, except for the Big Bang thing at the climax.
There’s this atmosphere of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ in this radio adventure. Especially as many of the characters like the Computer sound like they come from that radio/TV series or book.
Colin Baker is very good as the Doctor in this radio adventure. I imagine that Colin must have been under a lot of pressure when making this radio drama, when the TV show was put on trial back then.
Nicola Bryant is lovely to hear as Peri in this adventure. It was fun when Peri gets to have her own adventure in this story, since she gets separated from the Doctor before she reunites with him later.
Valentine Dyall guest stars as Captain Slarn in this radio adventure. Valentine Dyall is so well-known in radio as The Man in Black and he has also played the Black Guardian in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series.
It was intriguing to hear Valentine as Slarn in this radio adventure. Slarn didn’t do much as he had lava baths and massages in the story. It was sadly Valentine’s final acting job before he died in 1986.
Jane Carr guest stars as the Computer in this radio adventure. I did find the Computer voice annoying at first since she sounded like a dumb American blonde and how Sandra Dickinson sounds.
It became interesting when the Computer had a split personality during the story as there were versions of the Computer. One was a sinister normal voice and the other was a very comedic voice.
The guest cast also includes John Glover as Grant; Nick Revell as Snatch; Ron Pember as Seedle and Alan Thompson as Slarn’s Stewart. All delivered intriguing performances on the characters from this.
There is one point of the story I got confused by. The space liner in the story was responsible for causing the Big Bang of the universe. This does contradict what happens in events from ‘Terminus’.
‘Slipback’ has been an enjoyable radio adventure to listen to with the Sixth Doctor and Peri. I don’t think it’s the greatest radio adventure made, but it was good it was made during the 1985/86 hiatus.
‘The BBC Radio Episodes’ CD collection has been an enjoyable set of audio adventures from ‘Doctor Who’. They’re different from the Big Finish audios and some of them aren’t great. I enjoyed the Jon Pertwee radio dramas and ‘Slipback’ with Colin Baker more than I enjoyed those Tom Baker stories.
‘Slipback’ rating – 6/10
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