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It’s Saturday Teatime In 1977 All Over Again
Tom Baker is back! And it’s about time!
This is the first Big Finish ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure with Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor returning with Louise Jameson as Leela in a brand new series of adventures called ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’. This is an exciting time as Tom Baker has returned to play the Doctor after all these years.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Destination: Nerva’ signed by lovely Louise Jameson at the ‘Big Blue Box 2’ convention in Tunbridge Wells, March 2013. I’m lucky to have had the CD cover of this ‘Doctor Who’ tale signed by Louise. This certainly is a pivotal audio production by Big Finish that features Tom Baker.
When I first heard the news that Tom Baker was returning to play the Fourth Doctor for Big Finish in 2011, I was pleased! Tom had declined to be involved in any Big Finish audios when it started. But after the ‘Hornets’ Nest’ audios and with persuasion by Louise Jameson, Tom had this change of heart.
I’m so pleased that Tom said “Yes!” to doing some more ‘Doctor Who’ adventures on audio with Big Finish. It would’ve been such a shame if he still said “No” and would have missed out. He seems to be enjoying them so far and they are much better than the ‘Hornets’ Nest’ audios, meaning no disrespect.
Like everyone else, I assumed that these would be like full-on four-part adventures with Tom Baker’s Doctor. I was disappointed when it turned out that these ‘Fourth Doctor Adventures’ would be two-part stories. I did not think this was good, as Tom Baker stories were either four or six-part adventures.
Also there’s not really a good amount of time to tell a cracking good Tom Baker audio adventure in two episodes. But I was looking forward to hearing these audio adventures when they came out and was also looking forward to hearing Tom Baker’s Doctor and Louise Jameson’s Leela again all the same.
When this first story of this series, ‘Destination: Nerva’ by Nicholas Briggs, came out in January 2012, I decided to purchase that one first before the others. I really enjoyed this story and hearing Tom Baker and Louise Jameson as the Doctor and Leela. Hearing their first scene in the TARDIS was superb.
This story follows on after ‘The Talons of Weng-Chiang’. I really enjoyed the references made to that previous adventure. Leela wonders and hopes if they will ever see Professor Litefoot and Mr Jago again. The Doctor and Leela are also still wearing their Victorian clothes from that previous story here.
The Doctor and Leela in the TARDIS discover a distress call in the vicinity of Kent, three years in the future from when they are. The Doctor and Leela go off to investigate. Within ten minutes, the Doctor and Leela follow a spaceship heading to a place the Doctor’s been to before – the space station Nerva.
Returning to Nerva was such a nice start for ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ in ‘Doctor Who’ by Big Finish with Tom Baker. Nerva was where Tom’s Doctor really began as he visited it in ‘The Ark In Space’ and ‘Revenge of the Cybermen’. ‘Destination: Nerva’ completes the trilogy of stories to feature Nerva.
There are a lot of political influences featured throughout this adventure. They are connected to the former British Empire and how aliens have been affected by it. It’s an interesting concept and has lots of ideas running throughout. This tale should have had a broader four-part story according to the fans.
Louise Jameson is a warm, lovely friendly person who I’m glad to have met at ‘Doctor Who’ conventions. I’ve enjoyed these audio adventures with Leela and it’s nice that Louise and Tom are now good friends as there was once friction between them when appearing ‘Doctor Who’ during the 1970s.
Leela gets to use her hunting skills when she and the Doctor share an adventure together. She’s brave and tells everyone including Alison to stay calm and trust the Doctor. I enjoyed those scenes that Leela has with Alison and she doesn’t seem to be the stupid savage that she seems to be from the TV stories.
Tom Baker is the Doctor! It was great to hear him slip back into the Fourth Doctor character so easily. It’s like he’s never been away. Both the Doctor and Leela share a good banter, showing how well Tom and Louise work well together. Tom balances the humorous side of the Doctor as well the serious side.
Raquel Cassidy, who appeared in ‘The Rebel Flesh’/’The Almost People’ with Matt Smith’s Doctor, guest stars as Dr. Alison Foster, Nerva’s medical officer. Alison is bereaved from the death of her baby daughter. She is shocked by what’s going on when some alien disease infects the entire crew on Nerva.
Tim Bentinck, who’s done many Big Finish audios, guest stars as Commodore Giles Moreau, commanding officer on Nerva who is under pressure. Moreau joins the Doctor and Leela with Alison when they escape from an alien-human monster. He sadly gets infected himself with the alien disease.
The story’s guest cast also includes Sam Graham as the mysterious McMullan; Tilly Gaunt as the sweet technician Laura Craske; Kilm Wall as Jim Hooley, a worker at the Nerva space dock when the Doctor and Leela arrive and Tim Treloar as the sinsterly evil Lord Jack. All deliver superb performances in this.
I found the story’s ending pretty rushed though. I might have missed what was happening since the enemy aliens seemed to have a sudden change of heart. It would have been good to extend the story into four episodes to have more breathing space in order to improve the story as well as its conclusion.
I enjoyed the final scene of this story with the Doctor and Leela in the TARDIS. Leela asks the Doctor to take her somewhere where he could teach her. It brings back the teacher/student relationship intended for the Doctor and Leela by the producer Phillip Hinchcliffe and script editor Robert Holmes.
‘Destination: Nerva’ is a good start to a brand new series of audio adventures with the Fourth Doctor and Leela. I enjoyed both Tom Baker and Louise Jameson in this audio adventure. It’s so amazing since Tom Baker made his ‘small smart’ in TV ‘Doctor Who’, whereas now in audio he’s made his ‘Big Finish’!
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of this disc, there are some behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Tom Baker; Louise Jameson; Raquel Cassidy; Tim Bentinck; producer David Richardson; writer/director Nicholas Briggs; etc.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Doctor and Leela called ‘The Renaissance Man’.
‘Destination: Nerva’ rating – 7/10
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