‘THE JUPITER CONJUNCTION’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Conjunction with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough
This is a ‘Doctor Who’ adventure set on a comet!
‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ is another enjoyable adventure in the Fifth Doctor series with Tegan; Turlough and the older Nyssa, starring Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton. This has an intriguing outer-space setting and atmosphere with mind-boggling concepts.
The TARDIS team visit a craggy comet called Eight slash Q Panenka. It has an elliptical orbit between Earth and Jupiter. On the comet there’s a small dwindling community on the verge of collapse. When a crisis occurs, the TARDIS team splits up and strange cloud-like creatures arrive.
This four-part story is by Eddie Robson, who penned ‘1963: Fanfare for the Common Men’ with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. I like Eddie’s stories in ‘Doctor Who’ and he delivers an interesting mundane setting on the comet where a community is dictated by a run-down logistics company.
But I admit I found this adventure rather uninspiring to listen to. In no way is it terrible like ‘Rat Trap’. But I found this story lacking in action sequences and it wasn’t as exciting as I hoped it’d be. There are occasional character moments that I liked, but this adventure did not do much for me.
I met Sarah Sutton at the ‘Collectormania Glasgow 2012’ convention in August 2012, following the story’s release. Sarah told me that she wasn’t sure about this one and ‘The Butcher of Brisbane’, since they’re both futuristic tales set in space. She found them both difficult to visualise and prefers the historical adventures than the spacey ones and I agree with Sarah on it.
I told Sarah that I found ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ difficult to visualise. I was like “Okay, I’m trying to visualise the setting but it’s quite difficult”. I suppose on television it would be easier to see those space-settings, whereas on audio it is tricky to create them in your head with imagination.
Sarah Sutton was the highlight for me as the older Nyssa in this story. Nyssa recently rejuvenated from ‘The Emerald Tiger’. It is interesting Nyssa now looks younger compared to when she was older in earlier stories. It is rather confusing for me as it’s confusing for Sarah too.
I liked it when Nyssa and Tegan get split up from the Doctor and Turlough and both have an adventure in outer space on the comet surface in space-suits. They meet up with a girl called Violet Silvaner. They help her with searching for her ‘boyfriend’ and head for the Unstable Zone.
Pretty soon, Nyssa gets separated from Tegan and gets captured by the cloud-like Jovians who take her as prisoner in the villains’ hideout on the comet. I was annoyed that Nyssa got captured as she was mostly side-lined during the story. But thankfully Nyssa didn’t get possessed as usual.
Janet Fielding is pretty good as Tegan. I liked it when she shows concern for Manny, who is Violet’s ‘boyfriend’ and tries to reassure him he’s going to be okay. It was good when Tegan gets clever and has this idea to stop the comet causing destruction, even though Nyssa could die too.
Mark Strickson is also good as Turlough in this one. I liked it when he shares scenes with the Doctor and is seemingly deceptive when trying to convince the people on the comet that they’re thieves, much to the Doctor’s astonishment. Turlough’s shiftiness is played on in this adventure.
Peter Davison delivers a terrific performance as the Doctor. I like how he shows concern for his companions and works out what’s going on. I liked his scenes with Turlough when he’s disappointed and he’s apologetic to Nyssa. He accuses a ‘court room’ that is a shopping precinct.
The guest cast includes Rebecca Front as Patricia Walton. Rebecca has appeared in ‘The Thick of It’ with Peter Capaldi. Patricia is a high-ranking crew member on the comet, who accuses the Doctor and Turlough as thieves. She isn’t who she seems and is involved with some stolen cargo.
There’s also includes John Cummins as Anton Falcao; Ellie Burrows as Chica St Jude; Zoe Lister as Violet Silvaneer (who has a certain twist to her character half-way in this); Simon Blake as Manny and Ben Porter as Major Nash, who’s this nasty piece of work and he even kills one of the characters.
The monsters are the cloud-like Jovians (voiced by Phillip Pope). They’re gas-like creatures from the planet Jupiter. I admit I found their voices disorientating and hard-going, especially with their wind-like and soft tones. I did not feel they did much for me and weren’t so great on audio.
The Jovians seem to be evil first, as they work with the human baddies in their dastardly plans. They seem to be Earth’s sworn enemies in want for revenge. But they soon see the error of their ways and also wish to make amends by helping the Doctor and friends with stopping this comet.
A highlight of this story is when Nyssa is seemingly trapped and hand-cuffed on the comet heading for destruction. I liked it when Nyssa talks to the Jovians and says they’re doing the right thing. Nyssa tries to persuade Major Nash to stop his plans and free her, but he refuses to.
I was anxious and wondered whether Nyssa will survive and escape death on the comet. Fortunately the Jovians free Nyssa from her handcuffs and they take her to the TARDIS which they stole from the Doctor. It was a relief as I wondered if the older Nyssa would die in this tale.
The Doctor; Tegan and Turlough grieve and worry about Nyssa when they’re unable to save her. The Doctor is distressed and Tegan is about to tell him something before the TARDIS soon returns with Nyssa aboard. Everyone is so relieved to see her alive which was sweet to listen to.
‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ isn’t the greatest ‘Doctor Who’ story I’ve listened to with the Doctor; Tegan; Turlough and Nyssa. But it’s far from terrible. I enjoyed listening to it, but I found it quite a tricky story to visualise. It requires another listen, but it is not exciting and inspiring as I hoped.
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 is a trailer for the next story with the Doctor; Tegan; Turlough and Nyssa called ‘The Butcher of Brisbane’. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson; Phillip Pope and director Ken Bentley.
I liked the comments made by Peter; Sarah; Janet and Mark about them enjoying working with each other on these ‘Doctor Who’ audios. They clearly enjoy each other’s company, despite not seeing each other for most of the year. Their friendships are clearly shown in the performances.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘The Jupiter Conjunction’.
‘The Jupiter Conjunction’ rating – 6/10
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