‘THE KING OF THE DEAD’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Theatre Trouble For Nyssa
This story is by Ian Atkins and is read by Sarah Sutton. It features the Fifth Doctor; Tegan and Nyssa.
‘The King of the Dead’ is a lovely and wonderful Short Trip audio by Big Finish. I loved Sarah Sutton narrating this tale and she’s so good in doing accents and voices for the other characters as well as Nyssa.
The Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan visit a London theatre in 1983 where they take part in a play. But something strange goes on, as spidery-creatures are on the ceiling and an actor is bent on revenge.
This Short Trip was released as a download as part of the monthly Short Trip audios from Big Finish. I had this in May 2015 before my birthday. I couldn’t have asked for a wonderful birthday present.
I was pleased when Big Finish announced that Sarah Sutton was reading this Short Trip. It made up for Sarah not doing another Companion Chronicle after ‘The Darkening Eye’ as it was the next best thing.
I met up with Sarah at the ‘Valiant 2015’ convention in Sheffield in March, 2015. During a backstage session with other fans, we chatted to Sarah about her doing ‘The King of the Dead’. She also mentioned that she had done a second Short Trip audio called ‘The Toy’ which I was really looking forward to.
I loved Sarah’s voices for the Doctor and Tegan in this story as they’re so brilliant. It was amusing to hear Sarah doing an Australian accent for Tegan as she knows Janet well and gets the energy for Peter’s Doctor spot-on. She does great voices for the guest characters in this including Patrick and Gillian.
I enjoyed listening to ‘The King of the Dead’ so much, that I sent a private message to Ian Atkins, the writer of this tale, via the now-deceased Big Finish forum. I said how much I enjoyed his story and thanked him for writing it. I had a nice reply from Ian, saying how pleased he was that I enjoyed his story.
I soon met up with Sarah again at the ‘H-Con’ convention in Eastleigh, Hampshire in July, 2015. I had ‘The King of the Dead’ cover and a lovely behind-the-scenes photo of Sarah during the recording of the story signed by her. Sarah was surprised to see the photo and I told her it was taken when she was recording the short story.
I explained to Sarah that the photo was put on the website to advertise ‘The King of the Dead’. We agreed it was a good photo and Sarah suggested it was taken by Lisa Bowerman who directed the story. Sarah commented how broody Peter looked on the story’s cover and I agreed that he does.
In the story, Ian Atkins focuses it on developing Nyssa’s character which is great. It delves into Nyssa’s grief over the loss of her father in ‘Logopolis’. I’ve often wondered why Nyssa never went off in search for the Master as he killed her father and why it didn’t affect her so badly when it should have.
Nyssa discovers what the actor Patrick went through with losing his father and how he takes it badly when the U.N.I.T. soldiers abandoned his father during a battle. It transpires Nyssa ended up ‘forgiving’ the Master for killing her father, which she uses it to get through to Patrick in his plans for revenge.
This emphasises why I like Nyssa so much in ‘Doctor Who’ as a companion. Nyssa’s strengths include selflessness (shown later in ‘The Entropy Plague’) and forgiveness. It sheds light on why Nyssa didn’t go mad with revenge and I liked it when Nyssa saves the day by persuading Patrick to listen to her.
‘The King of the Dead’ is a brilliant Short Trip audio and I’m very pleased to have heard it with Sarah Sutton reading it. I’ve now heard both this story and ‘The Toy’ with Sarah Sutton and I want to hear more Short Trip audios read by her. I couldn’t have asked for a lovelier birthday present in May 2015 than this.
‘The King of the Dead’ rating – 10/10
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