‘Doctor Who and the Pescatons’ (Audio)

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‘DOCTOR WHO AND THE PESCATONS’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Pescatons with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane

This is a two-part ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure starring Tom Baker as the Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane Smith. This was originally made on an LP record and on a cassette in June 1976.

The story is by Victor Pemberton, who was script editor on ‘Doctor Who’ during Season 5 with Patrick Troughton. It was intriguing that he wrote a story with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane in it.

I’m afraid I found ‘The Pescatons’ really disappointing. It’s not really a full-cast drama and it didn’t feel like a proper audio adventure. I recall that I found it hard-going with listening to this adventure.

The story is mostly narrated by Tom Baker as the Doctor. This makes it more like a ‘Companion Chronicle’, or in this case a ‘Doctor Chronicle’. Tom’s Doctor tells the tale from his latest experience.

Now I admire Tom Baker’s talents as an actor and he’s a very good storyteller. But I felt rather unsatisfied with how the story was presented and this should have been more dynamic and pacey.

The cast is also very limited to just three actors – Tom Baker; Elisabeth Sladen and Bill Mitchell as the villainous Zor. There were occasions when the Doctor has dialoguey scenes with Sarah Jane and Zor.

I found the scenes that occurred between the Doctor and Sarah Jane very enjoyable and easy to listen to. I had to listen hard to some of the exposition scenes given by the Doctor when he narrates.

It was sometimes easy to drift off and miss the plot at some points. At least they had some interesting sound effects to accompany the Doctor’s narration, but for me it did not help that much.

There was an interesting scene between the Doctor and Sarah Jane when they get attacked by Pescatons and they interact with a baby. Was this the forerunner to Matt Smith’s baby-talking then?

I liked it when the Doctor is playing a flute-like instrument, like the Second Doctor’s recorder and Sarah Jane tells him to use it on a Pescaton. Interesting that loud noise is the Pescatons’ weakness.

In terms of the story’s placement in the Fourth Doctor’s timeline, this story takes place between ‘The Seeds of Doom’ and ‘The Masque of Mandragora’. This story was made after Season 13 was made.

I’m afraid the Pescatons didn’t inspire me much as monsters in this story. Apart from being described as space-like fish creatures, they didn’t do much when they’d invaded London and Earth.

Also Bill Mitchell’s performance as Zor, the leader of the Pescatons, didn’t help things. It was interesting that the Doctor had confrontations with him, but I was not threatened by him as a villain.

It was interesting when the Doctor relates an earlier visit to Pesca, the Pescatons’ planet, during this story and this was told in a flashback. This was where he makes the first confrontation with evil Zor.

I had hoped that there would be a scene featuring all three characters where the Doctor and Sarah Jane faced Zor at the end. Sadly it was just the Doctor and Zor which was very disappointing to hear.

Also, I’m afraid I missed the final moments when the Doctor finally defeated Zor since I drifted off by that point. The final confrontation did not feel dramatic enough, even when the Doctor described it.

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‘Doctor Who and the Pescatons’ is a very disappointing audio adventure for me. A shame as it is one of the rarest audio stories to feature Tom Baker as the Doctor and Elisabeth Sladen as Sarah Jane.

‘Doctor Who and the Pescatons’ rating – 3/10


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4 thoughts on “‘Doctor Who and the Pescatons’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    This pains me to say but i completely agree with every point you made in this honest review, this has none of the charm of a Fourth Doctor adventure & that Tardis sound effect is awful.

    I remember purchasing the Decca CD version from WHSmiths overjoyed at finding a new Fourth Doctor & Sarah Jane adventure, my happiness didn’t last long.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
  2. Tim Bradley Post author

    Thank goodness you agree with me about this Fourth Doctor audio adventure, Simon. I’m glad it wasn’t just me. There’s no energy to this audio adventure. Nothing to get the listener excited about, especially when Tom’s Doctor is reading the story.

    I can well imagine you being excited about getting this Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane story on CD and being disappointed afterwards. It hurts that ‘Pescatons’ and ‘Exploration Earth’ are the only audios with Tom Baker and Elisabeth Sladen together. It would have been nice to have had some Big Finish audios with the Fourth Doctor and Sarah Jane together. Sadly that’s not to be with lovely Lis Sladen having passed away in 2011.

    Tim. 🙂

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  3. Williams Fan 92

    Hello Tim.

    I recently listened to this audio story via the Collection Season 14 box set and like you I found it to be rather underwhelming. No disrespect to Tom Baker but his narration didn’t really gain my interest in the story especially the action sequences. It might have worked better with more cast members but then again we do have the ‘Companion Chronicles’ series and I’ve been listening to ‘Farewell, Great Macedon’ which only has the voices of Carole Ann Ford, William Russell and John Dorney. Sometimes it can get confusing but I still managed to get to grips with the story.

    Maybe the story should be redone in written form so that it will be easier for fans to engage with the story.

    P.s. I ordered ‘Warzone’/‘Conversion’ a few days ago.

    Liked by 1 person

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    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi WF92,

      I haven’t heard this audio in a long while and even though I did re-listen to a bit of it on ‘The Masque of Mandragora’ disc of the Season 14 Blu-ray box set, I can’t say that I was impressed by the presentation of the story despite Tom Baker narrating it. It’s a shame Lis Sladen passed away in 2011 as I would have liked there to be Big Finish audios featuring Tom’s Doctor and Lis Sladen’s Sarah Jane. The ‘Companion Chromicles’ are certainly much better compared to ‘The Pescatons’.

      It’s funny you should mention that as there is a Target novelization of the story by Victor Pemberton. Must check that out sometime. Hope you enjoy ‘Warzone’ and ‘Conversion’ when you hear them.

      Many thanks for your comments.

      Tim 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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