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Buzzard Creek with Turlough, Tegan and the Fifth Doctor
This is an enjoyable audio adventure with Mark Strickson as Turlough in ‘Doctor Who’. Like ‘The Mists of Time’ before it, this audio was released as a freebie in Issue 419 of ‘Doctor Who Magazine’.
I like Turlough as a character, especially when Mark Strickson plays him. He delivers interesting layers to this character, especially when he’s mysterious, alien and his past gets gradually unravelled.
This is a ‘Doctor Who’ story set right after ‘Enlightenment’ of ‘The Black Guardian Trilogy’. It’s also set right before the Fifth Doctor, Tegan and Turlough are reunited with the older Nyssa in ‘Cobwebs’.
In this story, Turlough is recording an entry in a tape recorder about an adventure he had with Tegan and the Doctor. I wonder if Turlough did that a lot when he was in his room by himself in the TARDIS.
The story is about the TARDIS arriving in Arizona, 1905. Turlough steps out of the TARDIS to get away from the Doctor and Tegan’s company, before he enters into the Wild West town of Buzzard Creek.
Whilst in Buzzard Creek, Turlough and everyone else receive a visit from a travelling showman called Thaddeus P Winklemeyer. Winklemeyer presents his carnival of caged alien creatures to the public.
Turlough suspects that there is more than it seems with Winklemeyer’s menagerie of creatures. Eventually, Turlough with the Doctor and Tegan attempt to expose Mr. Winklemeyer and his villainy.
I like how this story begins with Turlough reflecting on how Tegan and the Doctor view him following ‘Enlightenment’. He suspects they don’t trust him in different measures whilst on board the TARDIS.
I also like how it gets touched upon what Tegan said to Turlough in ‘Terminus’ in how she felt about him. “Turning an argument around is something you’re very good at!” is what Turlough remembers.
Tegan continues to distrust Turlough, even after he’s said sorry about what happened with him and the Black Guardian. This is something that gets repeated as Tegan talks about it to the Doctor in ‘Cobwebs’.
There is also a sense of atmosphere and anxiety with Turlough as he wonders whether the Black Guardian is still on his trail. It was nice to hear the doubts Turlough had in this as well as being smug.
Mark Strickson’s performance is superb in this audio adventure. His narration as Turlough is easy to listen to. I was able to grip into what was going on, especially with Turlough in the Wild West setting.
Speaking of which, it was good to have a visual setting of a Wild West town in this story. The Doctor is no stranger to the Wild West. He visited it in ‘The Gunfighters’ and later in ‘A Town Called Mercy’.
I like Mark’s interpretation of the Fifth Doctor in this audio adventure. He manages to get Peter Davison’s gentler tones right, especially when he has authority in tackling Thaddeus P Winklemeyer.
Mark’s impersonation of Tegan was pretty good. It sounds as nasal and Australian like Janet Fielding would sound. There are moments when Tegan bickers with Turlough, but also when she’s soft on him.
Toby Longworth guest stars as Thaddeus P Winklemeyer in this adventure. Toby is no stranger to ‘Doctor Who’, since he’s done many Big Finish audios and he’s also done voices for ‘The Infinite Quest’.
I like Toby’s interpretation of Winklemeyer, who sounds like a nasty piece of work when people interfere with his carnival. It transpires that Winklemeyer is just as alien as the other alien creatures.
There are some alien creatures that Mark Strickson does the voice of, including ‘the Wild Man of Borneo’ called Berman Labazeen. Berman appears fierce, but is so gentle when Turlough meets him.
The story ends with Turlough finishing his narration into a tape recorder as the TARDIS lands somewhere. Turlough wonders where they have landed next and what new adventure lies in store…
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of the disc, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with Mark Strickson, Toby Longworth, director Lisa Bowerman and writer Mark Morris, conducted by producer David Richardson.
‘Freakshow’ has been an enjoyable excursion with Turlough’s character and how he has an adventure in the Wild West. Mark Strickson’s performance is great and I enjoy hearing him narrate.
‘The Companion Chronicles Specials’ have been a really good CD box set of ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventures for fans to enjoy. I’m so pleased that ‘The Three Companions’, ‘The Mists of Time’ and ‘Freakshow’ have been made available in this ‘Doctor Who’ CD box set since they are worth having.
‘Freakshow’ rating – 7/10
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