‘Empire of the Racnoss’ (Audio)



Please feel free to comment on my review.

Racnoss with the Fifth Doctor

In the second episode of ‘Classic Doctors, New Monsters’ – Volume 2, Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor tackles the Racnoss. This is ‘Empire of the Racnoss’ by Scott Handcock and it’s quite a gripping listen.

It was intriguing to hear Big Finish’s take on the spidery-like Racnoss aliens from ‘The Runaway Bride’. They have a unique way of language and behaviour, especially in terms of how to tackle wars.

In the episode, Peter Davison’s Doctor receives a distress call in the TARDIS. It rips the time ship from the time vortex and arrives in the middle of a conflict between Gallifrey and its old foe, the Racnoss.

It was intriguing to hear that the Time Lords and the Racnoss were enemies from long ago. I like how Scott Handcock unravelled why that Racnoss Empress in ‘The Runaway Bride’ was scared at the end.

Once again, Peter Davison’s Doctor travels alone since Nyssa or Tegan aren’t with him. I assume this episode takes place after ‘Fallen Angels’ then. Though the Fifth Doctor does get a companion in this!

As the Doctor finds himself in the middle of the conflict between the Time Lords and the Racnoss, he rescues this Racnoss male. This happens to be the Racnoss Consort as the Doctor returns him home.

But instead of receiving gratitude, the Doctor finds himself thrown into a prison as ordered by the Racnoss Empress. In the prison, the Doctor meets up with two Time Lords – one male; one female. 🙂

The male Time Lord happens to be Nigel Planer as General Herrax of the Seventh Prydon Brigade. The female Time Lord is Lisa Kay as Alaynafaranix – Alayna for short. She ends up as the companion.

It was fascinating how the Doctor interacted with Herrax and Alayna, who are both caught up in the Racnoss Wars. Herrax remains determined to defeat the Racnoss once and for all during these wars.

Alayna is a different matter. She at first seems to be disregardful of the Racnoss and would rather let them die. But she grows to learn that she’s not fond of wars and warms to the Doctor’s sensibilities.

In terms of the Racnoss cast, this story features special guest star Adjoa Andoh. She’s well-known for playing Martha Jones’ mum Francine in ‘Doctor Who’. Incredible how she ends up a spider queen! 😀

Adjoa is really into playing the Empress of the Racnoss for this episode. She seems to have captured Sarah Parish’s tones as the Empress from ‘The Runaway Bride’, almost sounding like her at times. 😀

As well as playing Herrax, Nigel Planer also plays the Old Racnoss Emperor. It’s interesting when the Doctor, Alayna and the Racnoss Empress go to find him on a moon and he seems pretty benevolent.

But as the story unravels, the Old Racnoss Emperor turns out to be a deceiver and determined to ruin the Racnoss Emperor once and for all by destroying her batch of children. He’s not very friendly.

I wonder if this is a common trait in many Racnoss aliens where they can be deceitful and selfish. It must be the case of many Racnoss as well as many Skithra. Honestly, the two races must be related.

The story also features Andrew French as the Racnoss Consort for the Racnoss Empress. Once the Old Racnoss Emperor gives the Racnoss Empress a seal, it makes the Consort the new Emperor here.

It doesn’t last. It was tense when the Racnoss Empress and the Old Racnoss Empreror were at loggerheads with each other by the story’s end. I’m sure Huon energy and a Webstar got mentioned.

The Doctor with Alayna’s help, thwart the Old Racnoss Emperor’s plan to destroy a new batch of children by materialising the TARDIS around them. He also doesn’t give the kids back to the Empress.

Instead, he takes them to a world outside the Racnoss Wars where they can live without being corrupted by their mother. I’m not sure that is a great idea. One of them may attack the Earth soon.

I like how the episode concludes with Alayna not wanting to go back to Gallifrey. She may end up being the Fifth Doctor’s companion here. I wonder if she will. If that’s the case I’ll be aboard for that.

The cast of ‘Empire of the Racnoss’. From left to right: Andrew French, Peter Davison, Adoja Andoh, Nigel Planer and Lisa Kay.

‘Empire of the Racnoss’ has been an enjoyable and fascinating episode featuring the Racnoss. I enjoyed Peter Davison as the Doctor and it was fun having him tackle this spider-like alien menace. 🙂

‘Empire of the Racnoss’ rating – 8/10

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2 thoughts on “‘Empire of the Racnoss’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Big Finish yet again add more depth & backstory to a alien menace seen once in the new series, Scott Handcock script feels fresh & moves at a great pace, interesting characters, good performances combine to make this a enjoyable Fifth Doctor audio drama.

    I wondered if Big Finish were setting up 2 opposing Racnoss factions here for a future story, i think that be a interesting concept.

    Tim, as ever a great detail & informative review.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Thanks for your conments on my review for ‘Empire of the Racnoss’. I found this one interesting especially in how the Fifth Doctor tackles the Racnoss as a menace and how the Racnoss are expanded upon as ‘Doctor Who’ monsters from one TV story.

      You never know. Big Finish always comes up with nice surprises. I wonder if I should do a Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy story with the Racnoss. 😀

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on this story, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂



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