‘Danger Down Below’ (Annual)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

Aronassus 49 with the Fifth Doctor and Tegan But Not Much of Nyssa

I’ve read the ‘Doctor Who Annual’ with Peter Davison’s Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan at last!

When I attended the ‘Blue Box Boy 2’ convention in Tunbridge Wells, March 2013, I purchased the ‘Doctor Who Annual’ from 1983. This was released after Season 19 was transmitted and in time before Season 20 was shown on TV. I’ve wanted to check out this ‘Doctor Who Annual’ for some time.

I’m not really one for short stories in Short Trips Collections by Big Finish and ‘Doctor Who Annuals’, but because this one featured Nyssa, my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion, how could I not resist checking this book out? This especially in purpose to review it for my ‘Nyssa Challenge’ on my blog!

This ‘Doctor Who Annual’ is very unusual in that it features mostly the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan. Yet Tegan is in her air hostess uniform. By the time ‘Time-Flight’ came along, she’d left. Shouldn’t she be in her Season 20 costume for these stories? The continuity of this ‘Doctor Who Annual’ is debatable.

There’s also a comic story featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric as a foursome in the annual. I’m currently going for the theory that these annual stories are set during Season 19 with Adric somewhere else or being sick in bed. The annual stories don’t make it clear regarding continuity.

The stories are as follows. There’s ‘Danger Down Below’; ‘The God Machine’; ‘The Armageddon Chrysalis’; ‘On the Planet Isopterus’; ‘The Haven’; ‘The Penalty’ and ‘Night Flight to Nowhere’. ‘On the Planet Isopterus’ is the comic story featuring the Season 19 team whilst the rest are text stories.

‘Danger Down Below’, the first story of the 1983 ‘Doctor Who Annual’, features the Fifth Doctor and Tegan in it and has a cameo by Nyssa too. I was disappointed this story didn’t feature much of Nyssa as she was mostly stuck inside the TARDIS. She didn’t even get to say a line in this tale. So appalling!

Anyway, the story has the Doctor and Tegan on the planet Aronassus 49. The Doctor has responded to a distress call from an old friend of his, High Minister Threll. They find the Prime City of Aronassus 49 in crisis with a rather short food supply as the city’s people have become increasingly belligerent!

‘Danger Down Below’ isn’t very inspiring as a story. It’s decent enough, but the action takes a while to happen and the characters are rather bland. Despite Tegan getting enough dialogue, I don’t think she stands out as a character with recognisable, familiar lines to identify her from the TV series itself.

It’s interesting how the story introduces Threll, a character who the Doctor knew from a previous incarnation. I’m surprised Threll didn’t react much to the Doctor having changed his appearance since the last time they met. The story does feel pretty plot-driven than character-driven in my view.

The story’s main monster happens to be a giant squid-like thing with tentacles called the Migrator. The monster does get sorted out pretty quickly as the Doctor materialises his TARDIS around the Migrator and sends it out into space. The Doctor and friends take Threll back home three days later.

There are three features after ‘Danger Down Below’ in the 1983 ‘Doctor Who Annual’. There’s ‘Our Neighbours In Space’, ‘Behind The Scenes at Doctor Who: The Visual Effects Department’ and ‘Enter Peter Davison as Doctor Who’.

‘Danger Down Below’ rating – 5/10

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