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On the Run with the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc
Could this new TARDIS team of the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc end so soon?
At the time Sarah Sutton recorded ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’, it was two days before she saw me again at the ‘Film & Comic Con Cardiff’, March 2019. Yes! Sarah recorded ‘Warzone’ and ‘Conversion’ on Thursday the 7th and Friday the 8th before seeing me in Cardiff on Saturday the 9th of March 2019!
I know it must have been hard work for Sarah to record these audio stories in-between doing conventions. When I saw her in Cardiff in March 2019 though, she didn’t seem phased by it. She was genuinely enthusiastic and happy when I saw her. I’m glad she enjoys being kept busy by Big Finish.
Here we are on the third CD of the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc audios by Big Finish so far! What do I make of this new TARDIS team so far? I’ve honestly enjoyed them. I like how Marc has managed to fit in among the company of the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan in the audio adventures.
I wasn’t sure how long Marc would last as a companion and I know it’d only be an amount of time before he exited and before Nyssa, Tegan and the Fifth Doctor meet Turlough in the series. But it’s way better than Hannah Bartholomew’s appearances in ‘Moonflesh’, ‘Tomb Ship’ and ‘Masquerade’.
I wasn’t sure what Marc’s fate was going to be like, especially with the return of some old ‘Doctor Who’ enemies in the ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’ CD release. But I was very keen to find out and I heard good things about the CD before I even heard it. So I hoped I would be in for a very good ride here.
And yes, we’re back again with another collection of two 2-part stories in this CD release instead of having a full-length four-part story. It happened with ‘Alien Heart’/‘Dalek Soul’ and it happened recently with ‘Interstitial’/‘Feast of Fear’. I don’t really object to having two-part adventures in these CD releases.
But considering Marc’s amount of time in the ‘Doctor Who’ series, I’m wondering if fans would appreciate his time in the TARDIS, despite the amount of stories extended from three to five here. I’m hoping they would! There’s bound to be another audio trilogy with this new TARDIS team, right?
Anyway, let’s talk about the first story of the ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’ CD release. ‘Warzone’ is a two-part adventure by Chris Chapman. Chris Chapman is not a stranger to ‘Doctor Who’ and to Big Finish.
As well as writing Big Finish audios, Chris has directed and produced documentaries for ‘Doctor Who’ DVDs and Blu-rays. I was looking forward to Chris’ angle on the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc.
In the story, the TARDIS arrives in the middle of a race track on the planet Samotis. The Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc very soon find themselves running for their lives as they’re on the race track.
I admit, I didn’t really know what to make of this story as I was listening to it in the first episode. I was expecting it to be an average race story for our four TARDIS heroes. Nothing special to look for.
I did enjoy the humour between characters as the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc interacted with other racers. Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, Janet Fielding and George Watkin continue to excel in this.
I enjoyed it when Tegan and Marc ran together in the race for the first episode. I did think Marc was becoming over-confident. His Roman attitude seemed to seep in and Tegan wasn’t keen in the race.
It was fun to hear Nyssa running alongside racer Timothy Blore as Morris, who was in fancy dress. The interaction between them did seem genuine and mostly nice as they were becoming friends.
But there’s one thing I became shocked by. Morris made Nyssa jump first over a drop to get to the other side and he jumps after her, landing on top of her with his heavy weight. Wow! Just…WOW!!!
If I had Nyssa and Billy running together in a race, I wouldn’t have had Billy made Nyssa go first. Billy would have gone first and he would have caught Nyssa coming after him. The jump scene felt wrong!
The Doctor meets up with racer Pepter Lunkuse as Esma. Esma seems pretty confident as she wants to finish the race and win. The Doctor is dubious about what’s going on as they run during the race.
Like I said, I wasn’t really sure where this story was going. I thought it rather strange that our heroes were running on foot in a race track. Wouldn’t it have been far more exciting to race in cars or something?
But as we got to the second episode, things dramatically changed. Once Marc gets injured, Tegan accompanies him to the hospital. The operation on his recovery goes well until something deadly. 😮
Tegan unknowingly grants the robot nurses to give Marc a 200% medical treatment. Thus he ends up getting new upgraded parts to his body. He continues to run in the race and is determined not to stop.
The Doctor gradually discovers the truth of what’s going on with this race and he realises that it’s all part of some scheme organised by his old enemies…the Cybermen! Wow! I did not see that coming!
Okay, the Cybermen don’t actually make an appearance in this story, but I was able to feel their presence. The fact that Marc and others get upgraded technology planted onto them confirms it all.
It was very tense when Nyssa managed to shut down the race and Marc stopped running before he collapsed. This is before he reached the end of the race track. The Doctor and Tegan run over to check on Marc.
It doesn’t look good as Marc’s cyber-conversion begins to kick in with the new technology he has on him. Peter’s Doctor gets angry. He refuses not to let another of his companions die because of Cybermen.
Incidentally Silas Carlson guest stars as the Commentator and the Steward in this story. Silas Carlson is well-known for voicing the Ood in ‘Doctor Who’. I didn’t expect him to sound so different from the Ood.
At the end, I liked it when Nyssa thanked Morris for looking after for her as he saved her life with a wrist-strap. She returned that favour! The Doctor gives encouraging words to Esma and Morris at the end.
Eventually, the Doctor, Nyssa and Tegan get Marc back into the TARDIS before they take off. The story ends on a bit of a cliff-hanger as Marc’s cyber-conversion kicks in again. It’s becoming more serious!
‘Warzone’ is a pretty good opening story to the third CD featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Marc. I like how things change around in the second episode and I had no idea what to expect next!
‘Warzone’ rating – 8/10
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