‘The Contingency Club’ (Audio)


Please feel free to comment on my review.

The Red Queen with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric

I greatly enjoyed listening to ‘The Contingency Club’ with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric!

This is the second story in the 2017 trilogy with the Fifth Doctor team from Season 19, starring Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and Matthew Waterhouse. I was enjoying these adventures with this TARDIS team so far. I enjoyed the interaction and journeys of the four regulars in this story.

‘The Contingency Club’ is set in Victorian London in 1864. The story is about a gentleman’s club that the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric visit. This was intriguing, as I wondered what Nyssa and Tegan’s reactions would be during this tale and whether they would be allowed in a gentleman’s club as this.

But this gentleman’s club is not the standard you would expect back in the 19th century. For one thing, the club members don’t know Nyssa and Tegan are women and for another, there are many duplicate servants of Edward about the club. This is of a strange evil plot formed by the Red Queen.

‘The Contingency Club’ is a four-part story by Phil Mulryne, who guest starred with Peter, Sarah, Janet and Matthew in the Big Finish audio ‘Psychodrome’. It was great to hear a Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric story by Phil. It was intriguing how he depicted the characters from working with the actors.

I’ve now had the CD cover of ‘The Contingency Club’ signed by Peter Davison at the ‘GEEKS Salisbury Comic Con’ in July 2017; by Janet Fielding at the ‘MCM Birmingham Comic Con’ in November 2017; and by Sarah Sutton and Matthew Waterhouse at ‘The Capitol II’ convention at the Arora Hotel, Gatwick in May 2017. All of the cast were excellent in this adventure!

I enjoyed the period setting of this story, as I was able to visualise Victorian London and the interior of a gentleman’s club very easily. There’s an element of the strange and weird in this ‘Doctor Who’ adventure concerning ‘The Contingency Club’ itself, but that’s expected when you’re listening to it.

There’s also a sense of game-playing concerning the villains and understanding what their motives are. You might think it’s all to do with world domination by aliens, but it’s something more than that. There are also many twists and turns concerning characters, as they turn out not what they seem to be.

Peter Davison is brilliant as the Doctor in this adventure. I like how he becomes surprised by how unusual ‘The Contingency Club’ is and when he sees the duplicate number of Edwards in the place. He becomes so curious when he investigates the dimensions of ‘The Contingency Club’ from outside.

I enjoyed it when the Doctor looks out for his companions, especially when he’s with Tegan and when he finds Nyssa and Adric after being separated from them. He confiscates Tegan’s 1980s walkman for most of the story, until he discovers a good use for it in order to defeat the Red Queen.

Sarah Sutton is lovely as Nyssa in this audio adventure. I was certain that Sarah enjoyed this audio adventure, especially since it’s set in a historical period of Victorian London and I know she likes the historical stories very much. How right I was, since Sarah mentioned she liked ‘The Contingency Club’ when she signed the CD cover for me at ‘The Capitol II’ convention. I agreed that I liked this tale too.

Nyssa gets a fair amount to do in this adventure. She shares a lot of scenes with Adric as they meet up with Marjorie Stonegood in the story. I especially enjoyed it when Nyssa followed Tegan after she got captured by the bad guys. I also liked it when Nyssa has some sympathy for those Edward clones.

Janet Fielding is great as Tegan in this audio adventure. She still wants to go back to Heathrow Airport in this story and grumbles when Adric calls her 1980s walkman a ‘primitive’ piece of technology. I liked it when Tegan’s with the Doctor, as they get thrown out of ‘The Contingency Club’.

It was interesting to how Tegan behaved when being in a gentleman’s club and how surprised she was when every gentleman didn’t see her and Nyssa as women. Tegan gets to stay behind and nurse-maid George Augustus, until Mr. Peabody and the Edwards show up and she gets taken away.

Matthew Waterhouse is good as Adric in this adventure. I think Adric did get impatient at times in this story, especially when he was with Nyssa and Marjorie in the first two episodes. But he does allow his curiosity to get the better of him, especially as he, Nyssa and Marjorie find the clone baths.

Later on in the story, Adric is with the Doctor and Marjorie as they go back in the club to find the Red Queen’s lair. Adric gets left behind and trapped with the Red Queen when the Doctor escapes. I liked that climactic scene where the Doctor asks Adric to put his trust in him. Adric trusts him with his life.

I was pleased to hear Clive Merrison in this audio tale! He guest stars as George Augustus, a Victorian journalist. Clive Merrison was also in ‘The Tomb of the Cybermen’ and ‘Paradise Towers’ on TV and he was in the 1977 TV version of ‘A Christmas Carol’ with Sir Michael Horden, as Bob Cratchit.

George Augustus’ character is quite an intriguing one to listen to in this audio adventure. At first, he seems concerned about getting into ‘The Contingency Club’ and seems to be a pleasant fellow when the Doctor and Tegan meet him. But it transpires George Augustus has his own secret agenda in this.

Lorelei King guest stars as the villainous Red Queen in this audio adventure. For those of you who don’t know, Lorelei King was the narrator in the TV episode, ‘A Town Called Mercy’, as well as appearing in many other ‘Doctor Who’ audios. The Red Queen is a very malicious person in this tale.

The Red Queen is determined, fierce and ruthless as she’s an alien game player and is doing these terrible things at ‘The Contingency Club’ in order to win a bet with her brother, the Knave (played by Olly McCauley). I found it a shock as the Red Queen kills her loyal servant and the Doctor gets angry.

Philip Jackson guest stars as Mr. Peabody, the chairman of ‘The Contingency Club’ and is very loyal to the Red Queen. Peabody’s character is rather weak-willed, as he carries out the Red Queen’s work for her. But it’s not long until George Augustus turns the tables and acquires Mr. Peabody’s services.

I found it amusing when Peabody and one of the Edwards tries to get into Augustus’ house and there’s slapstick going on in the background. 😀 It seems that Mr. Peabody has this hypnotising power to make gentleman become club members and not see unusual things like duplicate Edwards.

There’s also Tim Bentinck, who’s been in many ‘Doctor Who’ audios by Big Finish including ‘The English Way of Death’ and ‘Moonflesh’. Tim plays three different characters in this. These include Mr. Wakefield; the Cabby (my favourite character with Tim) and also Mr. Stonegood, Marjorie’s father.

There’s also Alison Thea-Skot, who has also been in many ‘Doctor Who’ audios including ‘1963: Fanfare For The Common Men’. In this story, Alison plays Marjorie Stonegood, a young Victorian girl looking for her father at ‘The Contingency Club’. She bumps into Adric and Nyssa, as they meet her.

And there’s Olly McCauley as the Edwards in this story. It was hard to figure out which Edward was which, as there’s so many of them going up to 25 and more. I like how every Edward was so polite, especially when dealing with the Doctor and friends. The Edwards put me in mind of Data from ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. It was sad when the Edwards were dying and Nyssa was sorry for them.

the contingency club

Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton and Peter Davison in ‘The Contingency Club’.

‘The Contingency Club’ has been an exciting and enjoyable audio adventure with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. It was quite unusual and I wondered how Nyssa and Tegan would fit into a gentleman’s club. But it was very enjoyable and I believe this is the best story out of the 2017 trilogy!

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 cast and crew including Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Clive Merrison, writer Phil Mulryne; director Barnaby Edwards; etc. There’s a trailer for the next story with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric called ‘Zaltys’.

If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Contingency Club’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Contingency Club’.

‘The Contingency Club’ rating – 9/10

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4 thoughts on “‘The Contingency Club’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord007

    Brilliant review of a fantastic story, I hadn’t a clue were this one was going, it was intriguing, choc full of clever twists & it oozes suspense, the regulars are all great & the chemistry between Peter, Sarah, Janet & Matthew is still there & perhaps even stronger than during season 19 thanks to the excellent scripts from the Big Finish writers.

    Big Finish have wrote some cracking Fifth Doctor stories of late long may it continue.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon.

      I agree, the Big Finish audios work well for Peter, Sarah, Janet and Matthew as the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric as opposed to the TV stories they were in. I enjoyed how the characters were depicted in ‘The Contingency Club’ and it was nice to have them bounce off the supporting characters as well in order for the twists and surprises in the story to really work.

      I look forward to more Fifth Doctor stories with the Season 19 TARDIS team in the Big Finish audios again someday.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. helenofvulcan

    This was a fun story, and again I can follow with my usual complements to Big Finish for putting a far better spin on the companions than the TV series, although the Doctor gets his fair share of the action, too. It was an intriguing listen and I appreciated the contrast between how the Red Queen and her brother viewed it as a game, but to those they used as pawns it was potentially devastating. I wonder if the Red Queen and her brother are Eternals a la ‘Enlightenment’.

    It was cool to see Tegan and Nyssa both coping with everything that was thrown at them at various stages; Nyssa came across as a little lost in the unfamiliar realms of Club London, but when it came to discovering the Edwards, she was back on firmer ground and far more confident. Tegan at least understands her environment, even if she doesn’t like it. That contrast came across extremely well.

    Another excellent part was the initial quarrel between Tegan and Adric. Rather than Mouth-on-Legs vs. Brat which the TV often carelessly threw out, the argument could be understood from both sides; this was how it SHOULD have been! Tegan is proud of having the latest gadget, probably because she doesn’t indulge in many; Adric, from the resource-poor Alzarius, feels it’s a frivolous use of even primitive technology.
    (IMHO, it also tells us something significant about Adric; those who are talented mathematicians usually have a good understanding of music and Adric clearly doesn’t care about it. It could be argued the Alzarian brain is different, but it’s more likely that he simply hasn’t had the exposure, giving us a significant insight into his upbringing.)

    I also felt it was quite poignant that Adric tells the Doctor that he does indeed trust him with his life… considering how he ends up. 😥 While it may be retrospective, this kind of foreshadowing does strike a cord and I like that BF isn’t afraid to give the heartstrings a quick pluck.

    They do this well with the Edwards, too. In the end, the Edwards fought to save those they truly believed they served – the club members. I agree that the actor got across that same innocence that Data has in TNG.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      Glad you enjoyed ‘The Contingency Club’. Yes, it’s good Big Finish have done a better job developing the companions of the Fifth Doctor era including Nyssa, Tegan and Adric compared to how the TV series did things. Interesting theory you have about the Red Queen and her brother being Eternals. They could well be. 😐

      I’m glad you like how Nyssa and Tegan coped with their surroundings in this adventure, especially with regaining their confidence when things were being thrown at them. I’m pleased you liked how the interaction between Tegan and Adric was handled compared to how the TV series did things with them.

      Interesting how you’ve noticed Adric trusts the Doctor with his life, foreshadowing what’s to come with ‘Earthshock’ later on. I’m pleased you agree with me about the Edwards being reminiscent of Data from ‘Star Trek: TNG’.

      Many thanks for your comments, Helen. I’m very pleased you enjoying my reviews on these Big Finish audios featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric. I hope I’ll continue to keep you entertained during these times.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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