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Sabaoth with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Adric
This is one creepy adventure in the ‘Doctor Who’ series with the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team!
‘Ghost Walk’ is the second adventure in 2018 trilogy of Fifth Doctor audios by Big Finish set during the Season 19 period. It was a day after my birthday that I heard this audio drama which would’ve been on the Wednesday. 😀 It was pretty exciting to listen to these audio dramas for my birthday week.
It was also pretty exciting to hear these Fifth Doctor audio stories before I went for my weekend to the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in May 2018. ‘Ghost Walk’ is a four-part adventure by James Goss. I believe that this is the first time James Goss wrote for the Season 19 TARDIS foursome.
I did enjoy listening to ‘Ghost Walk’ as a ‘Doctor Who’ adventure, although I can’t really say it’s one of my favourites. Oh to be sure, it was a creepy story and it had me engaged from beginning to end. But I do have some issues about this story in terms of how the regular characters get depicted.
This is one of those ‘Doctor Who’ audio stories that you will need to listen to again and again for better clarity of the plot. I’ve listened to the story twice already and I’ve gained more clarity on the plot. But still, I am not entirely comfortable with how the premise of the story is executed in output.
The story stars Peter Davison as the Doctor; Sarah Sutton as Nyssa; Janet Fielding as Tegan and Matthew Waterhouse as Adric. All four deliver superb performances as their characters in this story. Most of them get separated from each other. Not that I mind, but it’s what happens to the four that I mind.
The inspiration for this story by James Goss is from a ghost walk he visited somewhere. I’ve never done a ghost walk at all in my life, but I am aware of what they entail when I go on holiday with my parents. Most of these ghost walks happen at night-time, as is befitting for the ghostly appearances.
The story focuses on the TARDIS materialising inside some catacombs within a haunted part of a 17th century Yorkshire city. The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric explore but find themselves embroiled in deadly endeavours involving ghostly apparitions. It’s the works of the malevolent Sabaoth!
Soon Nyssa is on her own somewhere, accused of being a witch; Adric is on his own somewhere, about to be hanged for stealing and the Doctor and Tegan are trapped together inside the catacombs. Very soon, Tegan becomes weak and seems is on the verge of death. Can she be saved?
Well hopefully she can, as the Doctor who also dies…No, really! That’s what happens…makes contact with a tour guide in the 21st century. This tour guide called Leanne happens to be important and vital to Sabaoth’s evil plans. Will Leanne allow the Doctor helping her or will she totally ignore him?!
It was a challenge to know where and when you are in the story. First we were in 17th century Yorkshire; then the 21st century; the 18th century and the 19th century. There are also some places to identify within the tale, including the hanging yard, the witch pool, the screaming house and the catacombs.
Like I said, this story does require more than one listen which I don’t object to. After hearing this story twice, the plot does seem coherent despite its complexities. I was able to keep alert to what was going on in the story, though I would prefer a lot more audio time with a few regular characters.
I’ve had the CD covers of ‘Kingdom of Lies’, ‘Ghost Walk’ and ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’ signed by Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton and Janet Fielding at the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ in May 2018. I’m thrilled to bits about having my CD covers of these stories signed by Peter, Sarah and Janet for my birthday.
Sarah Sutton is brilliant as Nyssa in this audio adventure. I did tell Sarah at the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ that I would need to listen to ‘Ghost Walk’ again after hearing it once beforehand. I also told Sarah that I did like the romance Nyssa had. She liked it as well, according to the CD extras.
However with that said, I didn’t like how the romance ended for Nyssa with her potential love interest, Sacha Dhawan as Matthew the vicar. Sacha Dhawan is well-known in ‘Doctor Who’ circles for playing Waris Hussein in ‘An Adventure In Space and Time’. I was so delighted to hear him in this.
Sarah and I talked about Sacha Dhawan and apparently she liked working with him when he played Matthew the vicar. She told me she found him lovely to work with. And again, it was nice to hear those love scenes between Nyssa and Matthew in the story. But this is all limited in just one episode.
That happens to be ‘Part Two’ of the story. Nyssa gets accused for being a witch by the 18th century locals in the Yorkshire city when she’s transported through time to get there. Thankfully, before Nyssa is about to be cruelly mistreated by the locals, Matthew comes in to rescue her just in the nick of time.
Matthew takes Nyssa back to his home where he looks after her. The two share some intimidate scenes together. I like how sweet those tender scenes were when Nyssa and Matthew flirted with each other in this. It’s not done in an overly-the-top way and it was done in a very subtle, dramatic way.
When Timelord007 did his review on ‘Ghost Walk’ via his G+ page, he stated it was ‘naughty’ of Nyssa to be flirting with Matthew and that ‘Billy Walker won’t be happy’. 😀 I would concur, although depending how the story plays out, it does not affect how Nyssa would later meet Billy in my stories.
Also I don’t think it affects how Nyssa would later fall in love with Andrew and have her first kiss with him in ‘Circular Time: Autumn’ before Billy. Matthew does kiss Nyssa and admit his feelings for her, but I’d like to think it was a gentle affectionate kiss on the cheek rather than a full-on snog. Agreed?
But yeah, Matthew says he loves Nyssa and she tells him it’s ‘completely impractical’. Matthew is upset about being rejected by Nyssa of course. Now I wouldn’t mind this as it keeps the continuity of everything in terms of Nyssa’s love life. But my objection is how the romance between them gets resolved.
When Matthew and Nyssa are on their way to church one morning, the locals deny them entry and accuse Nyssa of being a witch. They demand Nyssa to be sentenced by drowning. And we come to an inconsistency regarding Matthew’s character. One minute, he seems to be defending Nyssa here.
But in the next minute, Matthew seems to be turning against Nyssa and allows the villagers to sentence her. What the…where did this come from?! I would’ve expected Matthew to defend Nyssa to the last, even if the villagers got their way in the end and that they insisted she’d drown in water.
But no! Matthew allows Nyssa to be sentenced as a witch because…she rejected him? What’s even more inconsistent is by the time we get to ‘Part Four’, Matthew changes his mind and asks the villagers to stop since he lied about what he said to save himself. Again, where did this come from?!
I suppose you can say Matthew is a young vicar and he was pretty naïve in the emotions of love. But surely if he was in love with Nyssa, he would be blinded by that and not let anyone harm her? I’m sorry to brag, but I’ve written better love stories with Nyssa in my own ‘Fifth Doctor’ series than that!
The bottom line is I’m not entirely happy with how this love story between Nyssa and Matthew is played out. It’s fine early on, but there should’ve been a better way to resolve how the two finished their romance. Not by the 18th century locals being allowed to drown her as she is accused for being a witch.
That’s another thing I didn’t like. The 18th century locals are a complete bunch of jerks towards Nyssa. There’s no sympathetic person amongst them apart from Matthew for a time. They all seem ready to judge Nyssa as a witch; treat her cruelly and are enjoying themselves too much with torturing her.
Carolyn Seymour guest stars as Mrs. Stubbs, Matthew’s house keeper and eventually the ring leader of the group who demands Nyssa to be sentenced by drowning. Carolyn Seymour has guest starred in a number of ‘Star Trek’ TV episodes such as ‘The Next Generation’ series and the ‘Voyager’ series.
Mrs. Stubbs seems to be really against Nyssa’s presence when in Matthew’s house before she gets to know her. It turns out, according to the CD extras, that Mrs. Stubbs is actually in love with Matthew and jealous of Nyssa. This seems to make sense in context. It feels very cruel what she does to Nyssa.
There’s another thing I found gut-wrenching regarding Nyssa’s character. After Nyssa’s saved by the Doctor from drowning, she says humans are ‘horrible’ and she doesn’t understand why the Doctor wants to help them. I hope she’s changed her mind about humans, especially by Billy Walker’s time. 😀
I did meet Carolyn Seymour at the ‘Folkestone Film, TV and Comic Con’ for my birthday weekend in May 2018. I didn’t get a chance to chat with her properly and only shook hands with her. A highlight though is when Sarah Sutton showed Carolyn the Nyssa ‘Doctor Who Timelines’ that I’d given to her.
I was delighted to see that and pleased Sarah still uses my ‘Doctor Who Timelines’ when attending conventions. She even told me so in a recorded conversation I had with Sarah at the event. Sarah wanted to check that ‘Ghost Walk‘ was on the Nyssa timeline I gave her when showing it to Carolyn.
Another issue I have with ‘Ghost Walk’ is that I did feel there was a lack of Nyssa and Adric by the time we got to the second half of the story. This is especially due to the fact that Nyssa and Adric don’t appear in the third episode at all. All four TARDIS characters reunite in ‘Part Four’ of the story.
Matthew Waterhouse is very good as Adric in this tale. Adric has a bad time in this story, since he gets propelled forwards in time to the 19th century in that same Yorkshire city. He gets accused for stealing bread…okay, that’s a cute ‘Oliver Twist’ reference there…and he’s soon sent off to Australia.
There, Adric is in prison and he finds it very frustrating when people don’t seem to listen to him and that everything seems primitive around him. I’m sure Adric had a lot of funny looks from people before he’s about to be hanged via a noose. Fortunately, the Doctor and Nyssa rescue Adric in time.
Janet Fielding is very good as Tegan in this adventure. Tegan spends a lot of scenes with the Doctor when she refused to ‘stay in the circle’ and remains with the Doctor. It was tense when Tegan remarks how the Doctor just thinks of her, Nyssa and Adric as ‘children’ as he gets annoyed with her.
It was gut-wrenching when Tegan was getting weaker and was on her way to the point of death. That scene where Tegan and the Doctor seem to have farewell scene in the story before she ‘dies’ is pretty moving. By the way, Janet told me she liked ‘Ghost Walk’ a lot whereas I liked ‘Kingdom of Lies’.
Peter Davison is superb as the Doctor in this adventure. In this story, it seems like Peter’s Doctor has let his companions down by not being there to save them when they were in peril. It also seems that the Doctor is dead when he appears to Leanne as this ghost and attempts to communicate with her.
I like how the Doctor works things out in this adventure and he keeps haunting Leanne in trying to get to help him. It also seems to me that the Doctor is getting older as well as weaker when tackling Sabaoth. This is all before the Fifth Doctor does age during the ‘Circular Time: Winter’ audio episode.
The guest cast is pretty good in ‘Ghost Walk’. As well as Sacha Dhawan and Carolyn Seymour, there’s also Fenella Woolgar as Leanne. Fenella Woolgar is well-known in ‘Doctor Who’ circles for playing Agatha Christie in the new series episode, ‘The Unicorn and the Wasp’ with David Tennant’s Doctor.
I didn’t recognize Fenella’s voice when she played Leanne in the story, but that’s because she’s put on a Yorkshire accent for the character. I enjoyed Fenella’s performance in this. It was funny when Leanne got so irritated by the Doctor talking to her. She must have got funny looks talking to thin air.
But of course the big guest star of the story is Stephen Greif as the villainous Sabaoth. Stephen Greif is well-known for playing the villainous Commander Travis in ‘Blake’s 7’. He also played the villainous Kwundaar in the ‘Doctor Who’ audio story, ‘Primeval’. It was a delight hearing Stephen Greif in this.
Sabaoth is this pretty malevolent being who seems to be like Satan when the Doctor encounters him in the catacombs. He happens to have this brotherhood who serves him. He intends to use Leanne as his focus for something. Stephen Greif’s chilling tones as a villain stand out pretty well in this tale.
The story also features John Banks as Louie, who is in competition with Leanne when she and him conduct ghost walks in the Yorkshire city. There’s also Philip Childs as Giles, who accuses Nyssa for being a witch and Rebecca Tromans as Nancy, one of the servant girls that work in Matthew’s house.
‘Ghost Walk’ is a pretty complex tale featuring the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team. It requires more than one listen. I enjoyed this story when I heard it for my birthday as well as for this review, but I wouldn’t consider it a favourite. I liked Nyssa’s little love story with Matthew, but not how it ended.
The CD extras are as follows. On Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. On Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Sacha Dhawan, Stephen Greif, Carolyn Seymour, Fenella Woolgar, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Ghost Walk’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Ghost Walk’.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric called ‘Serpent In The Silver Mask’.
‘Ghost Walk’ rating – 7/10
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