‘GARDENS OF THE DEAD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Turlough and the Gardens of the Dead
This story is by Jenny T. Colgan and is read by Mark Strickson. It features Turlough with the Fifth Doctor; Tegan and Nyssa.
I enjoyed ‘Gardens of the Dead’. This was a nice excursion into an area of ‘Doctor Who’ that has never been explored before. This story has Turlough’s first trip in the TARDIS from his perspective.
The story takes place directly after ‘Mawdryn Undead’ where Turlough joined the TARDIS team at the end of that story. It was interesting how Turlough first tried to fit in among the TARDIS crew.
Turlough reads this story in the first person, long after his adventures with the Doctor are over. This makes this Short Trip a sort of Companion Chronicle in a way, which is an intriguing, unusual approach.
I liked how the story opens with Turlough finding himself being accused repeatedly by Tegan who makes it clear she doesn’t trust him. Turlough mimics Tegan’s Australian accent when talking to her.
The story has the TARDIS arrive in a very strange place called the Gardens of the Dead. It’s a place where everyone’s loved ones are brought back to life in a simulated, peaceful and conjured manner.
But something deadly stirs when the TARDIS team visit the Gardens of the Dead. Very soon, the dust manifestations attempt to attack and kill the Doctor, so Turlough, Tegan and Nyssa have to save him.
I found it interesting how the story is driven forward from Turlough’s point of view and how he sees things. This includes witnessing what goes on in the gardens as well as his opinions of everyone else.
Clearly Turlough is frustrated with Tegan continually distrusting him, which is what causes them to end up at the gardens. Even by the end of the story, Tegan is blaming Turlough with all that’s happened.
Turlough’s relationship with the Doctor is intriguing. His original mission to kill the Doctor by the Black Guardian begins to change in this story. He has this self-doubt which resurfaces now and again.
But it’s Turlough relationship with Nyssa that I found most appealing in this. Nyssa is clearly willing to give Turlough a chance even if Tegan isn’t, since she shows the most kindness to Turlough in this.
There is a moment when Turlough witnesses Nyssa seeing her father at the gardens and she’s distraught, as she can see both Tremas and the Master. It was a touching moment to listen to in this.
In the story, Turlough keeps getting the Black Guardian talking to him inside his head and telling him to kill the Doctor. It gives Turlough headaches, something which he can’t explain to the other crew.
There’s a tense moment when Nyssa overhears Turlough agreeing to kill the Doctor to the Black Guardian and she runs off. But when Nyssa is to be attacked, does Turlough save her or capture her?
Mark Strickson reads this Short Trip audio superbly. I enjoyed his voices for the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan in this story and I was able to home in on what he reads, as I was engaged with the characters.
‘Gardens of the Dead’ has been a thoroughly enjoyable Short Trip audio. It highlights an intriguing side to Turlough, especially in an adventure that occurs between ‘Mawdryn Undead’ and ‘Terminus’.
I liked how Turlough ends his story with his reflection and thoughts on Nyssa. It’s rare that Turlough would think of Nyssa in such a high regard, especially when she didn’t know him well as a young person.
‘Gardens of the Dead’ rating – 9/10
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