‘SURVIVAL OF THE FITTEST’
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The Vrill with the Doctor and Klein
A Darwinian principle becomes the title of this three-part story by Jonathan Clements.
‘Survival of the Fittest’ is a very enjoyable and intriguing audio adventure by Big Finish with the Seventh Doctor and Elizabeth Klein. It is set on an alien world where insectoids called the Vrill are the dominant species.
It’s quite a job to get your head around this tale. But at its heart is a moral theme about superiority and inferiority. Some period of time has passed for the Seventh Doctor and Klein since ‘Klein’s Story’.
They’ve had a number of adventures together and they seem to know each other very well. There’s still antagonism between the two, but the Doctor hopes Klein has changed during their adventures.
I found the alien world of the Vrill very fascinating in this story. The concepts Jonathan Clements puts into the story with are mind-boggling. But the ‘natural selection’ themes are thought-provoking.
Sylvester McCoy is really good as the Doctor in this audio adventure. I liked how the Doctor is working things out here in this adventure and that he is learning more about who the Vrill are in this.
I like how the Doctor makes a connection with the Vrill and he’s constantly observing Klein in this. The Doctor observes what decisions she makes during this adventure and how he responds to them.
Tracey Childs plays Klein superbly. It seems clear Klein has seen a lot during her travels with the Doctor. She has become resourceful and she uses her intellect when tackling a dangerous situation.
But Klein is still a Nazi from her alternative timeline and is ready for the moment when she can steal the Doctor’s TARDIS and change history. It’s an aspect of her character that makes her so dangerous.
The Doctor and Klein meet the alien Vrill. They’re unusual in that they are insect-like and have their own language. The Vrill are being threatened. Most of them have been wiped out by the Winterlack.
The story’s guest cast includes Adrian Bower as Steffen. Steffen is a human who comes to the alien planet and is responsible for wiping the Vrill. The Doctor and Klein are disgusted by Steffen’s actions.
The Doctor and Klein meet two female Vrill. They’re strange but sweet insects. The Doctor gives names to the female Vrill as Rose and Lilly. Rose is voiced by Hannah Smith and Lilly by Evie Dawney.
There’s Mark Donavan as Jackson, Steffen’s partner. Mark has done a number of audio dramas for Big Finish and has done BBV audios. Jackson does sound rough and tough, but is pretty dim at times.
Rupert Wickham guest stars as another Vrill that the Doctor calls ‘Butterfly’. This is a rather special Vrill as he is one of the warrior types. Butterfly helps the Doctor and the female Vrill during this tale.
The story ends on a shocking cliff-hanger and one that left me pretty disturbed by. Klein gets her chance to steals the Doctor’s TARDIS as she goes off to change history, leaving the Doctor stranded.
This is something that hurts the Doctor greatly. After all their travels together, Klein has not changed at and she is still a Nazi. I wondered how the Doctor would get his TARDIS back from Klein.
‘Survival of the Fittest’ is a fascinating story with the Doctor and Klein that ends quite shockingly. I wondered where this was going to go next and how the Doctor will stop Klein from changing history.
‘Survival of the Fittest’ rating – 8/10
The ‘Survival of the Fittest’ CD by Big Finish has been enjoyable in this Seventh Doctor and Klein series. ‘Klein’s Story’ was a great look into Klein’s background and ‘Survival of the Fittest’ is a fascinating story with an exciting cliff-hanger. There’s still more to come as this story arc reaches its conclusion.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Sylvester McCoy; Tracey Childs; writer Jonathan Clements; writer/director John Ainsworth; etc.
At the end of Disc 2, there’s the twelfth and final episode of ‘The Three Companions’ with Anneke Wills as Polly; Nicholas Courtney as the Brigadier and John Pickard as Thomas Brewster. This is the fourth episode of the Brewster segment of the story. ‘The Three Companions’ is now complete in ‘The Companion Chronicles Specials’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Klein’s Story & Survival of the Fittest’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There are PDF scripts and extended extras of ‘Klein’s Story & Survival of the Fittest’.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Seventh Doctor and Klein called ‘The Architects of History’.
‘Klein’s Story & Survival of the Fittest’ rating – 8/10
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