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Return to E-Space on Alzarius
This is the beginning of the end for this TARDIS team.
‘Mistfall’ is the first story of an exciting trilogy of adventures with the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa, starring Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton.
This four-part story is rather special as this is the first of the ‘Return to E-Space’ trilogy by Big Finish in ‘Doctor Who’. This story is also a sequel to ‘Full Circle’, which was the first story of ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ by Andrew Smith. Andrew returns to write this sequel with Alazarius and Marshmen in it.
I wanted to know what happened to this TARDIS team following the emotional events of ‘Prisoners of Fate’, especially with Nyssa. I was anxious and wondered if Nyssa was okay. I was looking forward to finding out what her son Adric Traken meant at the end of ‘Prisoners of Fate’ in this new trilogy.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Mistfall’ (and the rest of the ‘Return to E-Space’ trilogy) signed by the lovely Sarah Sutton at the ‘H-Con’ convention in Eastleigh, Hampshire in July 2015. I’ve also had the CD cover of ‘Mistfall’ signed by the writer Andrew Smith at ‘The Capitol II’ convention in the Arora Hotel, Gatwick, May 2017.
Sarah Sutton was pleased to hear that I had listened to all three stories in one go (more on this later when I come to the last story of the trilogy). Sarah and Mark Strickson discussed the trilogy’s story titles at the ‘Time Warp’ convention in Weston-super-Mare, July 2014. I chatted to Sarah about the trilogy before its release at conventions from 2014 to 2015.
‘Mistfall’ starts with the Doctor setting the TARDIS on course for Maxis Realtor for Nyssa to see her children in a month’s time. Nyssa is looking forward to seeing her daughter again and is excited and nervous at the same time. I really hoped that Nyssa would see her children Adric and Neeka again.
But things don’t go to plan, as the TARDIS is suddenly drawn off course and passes through a CVE (a Charged Vacuum Embiotiment). The TARDIS ends up in E-Space and on the planet Alzarius where the Doctor has been to before. But how come the Doctor and friends are in E-Space? How will they escape?
I liked how Andrew Smith sets this E-Space trilogy up with returning the TARDIS to Alzarius. There are some lovely references to ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ including ‘Full Circle’ and references to Adric. There’s also an explanation on how the TARDIS ended up in E-Space by Adric from ‘Earthshock’ apparently.
Andrew Smith greatly enthuses in revisiting the world of Alzarius. I liked how Andrew takes the opportunity to develop the Marshmen and the ecology of Alzarius. Andrew’s inspiration came from his novelization of ‘Full Circle’ that contained a passage about the Marshmen at the end of the book.
This isn’t the first time that Andrew has revisited E-Space for Big Finish. Andrew penned the Companion Chronicle called ‘The Invasion of E-Space’ with Lalla Ward as Romana. It’s nice that Andrew is able to expand more on ‘The Planet That Slept’ which he dealt with in his TV story for ‘Doctor Who’.
Andrew does well in writing for the Fifth Doctor TARDIS team as he takes care in dealing with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough. They get split up into two groups, but it makes it easy for the listener to know who’s who. The two groups are as follows. There’s the Doctor and Tegan and there’s Nyssa and Turlough.
Sarah Sutton is very lovely as Nyssa. I liked it when Sarah expresses Nyssa’s caring side throughout and is calm when leading Turlough on Alzarius. It was interesting how much Nyssa knows about Alzarius from talking to Adric. It gets tense when she and Turlough are tied up with spiders coming for them.
This is of course the older Nyssa and at this point she’s already told the Doctor about what happens to him in the future and that she ‘was’ married and had children. I was concerned and wondered how Nyssa would get back to her family as she and her friends are in dangerous territory within E-Space.
Peter Davison is very good as the Doctor in this adventure. Peter’s Doctor is curious to find out why the TARDIS has ended up in E-Space and on Alzarius. He’s more caring compared to the Fourth Doctor in this and gets easily agitated when somebody kills someone like a Marshman in cold blood.
Janet Fielding is equally good as Tegan. I liked it when she shares scenes with the Doctor and how they meet up with Decider Lana Merrion. I liked that moment when Tegan gets to use an oxygen cylinder on one of the Marshmen breaking out and how she bonds with the Marsh creature Fem.
Mark Strickson is great as Turlough. He gets to be his usual, sarcastic, shifty self, but it was interesting how that attitude of his comes from being brought up in a royal family on Trion. He shares a lot of scenes with Nyssa and gets paranoid. I liked it when he gets to swims underwater to find a way to escape.
The biggest guest star in this audio drama is Jemma Redgrave as Decider Lana Merrion. Jemma is well-known to ‘Doctor Who’ fans for playing Kate Stewart, the Brigadier’s daughter in the new series. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Jemma at the ‘Collectormania 22’ convention in Milton Keynes, November 2014.
Nigel Carrington guest stars as the villainous Pik Solus. Solus is part of Decider Merrion’s expedition to discover more about the Marshmen. But he’s responsible for causing explosions and planting spiders in Merrion’s quarters, since he’s trying to kill her and he blames her for a certain past action.
The guest cast also includes Emily Woodward as Fem, a part Alzarian-part Marshman; Paul Panting as Drell, a Hiragi and Matthew Carter as Yan Fara, an Outler that is on Alzarius with Drell.
The Marshmen are great to listen to and sound more convincing compared to how they appeared in ‘Full Circle’ on TV. One of the Marshmen can speak and that is the Marshleader (voiced by Paul Panting). It feels quite eerie when the Marshleader talks and what his views are on the Alzarians.
Hearing the soundscapes of Alzarius in ‘Mistfall’ put me in mind of ‘Full Circle’ already, as it was easy to visualise the tropical rainforests of that planet before it gets shrouded in mist with Marshmen. The music is very good by Nigel Fairs, with echoes of the music from ‘Full Circle’ by Paddy Kingsland.
‘Mistfall’ is a fantastic audio sequel to ‘Full Circle’. I greatly enjoyed this audio adventure and commend Andrew Smith for tackling the Marshmen again. It’s also a great start to the ‘Return to E-Space’ trilogy as the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough begin their adventures in this universe.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including writer Andrew Smith; Sarah Sutton; Mark Strickson; Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Emily Woodward; etc.
There is also a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa called ‘Equilibrium’.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Mistfall’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Mistfall’.
At the story’s end, Pik Solus escapes from Alzarius and takes a vital component of the TARDIS with him. The Doctor and his friends chase after Solus in the TARDIS to get it back before they can escape E-Space.
What will happen next I wonder for this TARDIS team, as the ‘Return to E-Space’ trilogy continues.
‘Mistfall’ rating – 8/10
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For the Fifth Doctor was
For Tegan was
For Turlough was
For Nyssa was
The next story
For the Fifth Doctor is
For Tegan is
For Turlough is
For Nyssa is
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