Please feel free to comment on my review.
An Adventure in E-Space with Darklish
‘The E-Space Trilogy’ has now become ‘The E-Space Season’!
I must admit, I haven’t really been keeping up to date with every ‘Fourth Doctor Adventure’ by Big Finish starring Tom Baker. I have heard the first three seasons, but I’ve lagged lately. However, Series 9 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ of ‘Doctor Who’ was something that truly did catch my interest!
Series 9 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ stars Tom Baker as the Fourth Doctor with Lalla Ward as Romana, Matthew Waterhouse as Adric and John Leeson as K-9. These are stories set during Season 18 of the original TV series and they take place within the weird, small pocket universe of E-Space. 🙂
‘The E-Space Trilogy’ as well as Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’ in general has a special place in my heart. As well as loving ‘The Keeper of Traken’ and enjoying ‘Logopolis’ with Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa, ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ is an intriguing bunch of stories where the Fourth Doctor, Romana and K-9 meet Adric.
Big Finish have done stories set during ‘The E-Space Trilogy’ in Season 18 of ‘Doctor Who’, mostly as short stories and audiobooks. But it was thrilling to have full-cast audio productions with Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Matthew Waterhouse and John Leeson reprising their roles for that particular era.
There are four stories in Series 9 of ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’. The stories are in two CD box sets with the first two in Volume 1 and the last two in Volume 2. For Volume 1, the stories are ‘Purgatory 12’ by Marc Platt and ‘Chase the Night’ by Jonathan Morris. Let’s check these stories out!
In ‘Purgatory 12’ by Marc Platt, this is a four-part adventure set after ‘Full Circle’ and ‘State of Decay’. It’s great that ‘The Fourth Doctor Adventures’ are now four-part adventures instead of two.
It was also surreal to hear Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Matthew Waterhouse and John Leeson interacting with each other for Big Finish audio as the Doctor, Romana, Adric and K-9. Who would’ve thought it?
I like that opening scene where all four regular characters are in the TARDIS as Adric and K-9 are playing chess whilst the Doctor and Romana are at the console. It feels like Season 18 all over again!
So, how does Marc Platt begin this set of stories with the Season 18 TARDIS team? Well, he has Adric walking out of the TARDIS in anger from the Doctor, Romana and K-9. Wow! What a start that is?! 😀
Actually, it’s amazing Marc Platt manages to recreate that eerie feel of the Season 18 stories in ‘Purgatory 12’. It’s also intriguing how he tackles our main heroes interacting with each other here. 🙂
The TARDIS has landed on this isolated space rock. It happens to be a penal colony called Purgatory 12. The Doctor, Romana and K-9 are still trying to find an exit out of E-Space with Adric joining them.
Purgatory 12 is quite a dreary place where there’s this stink and there’s strange rust about. The planet also has this strange force contained within the planet which keeps the convicts ‘unforgiven’.
There are quite a number of weird things that happen in the tale especially with rust recreating people in their image. This is the case for the convicts and for Romana who sees an image of herself.
What made ‘Purgatory 12’ exciting were the character relationships of the Fourth Doctor, Romana, K-9 and Adric. ‘Part Four’ was confusing for me, but I did like how the TARDIS regulars were handled.
Tom Baker is excellent as the Fourth Doctor in this audio. It was somehow easy to visualise him in his Season 18 costume with burgundy coat and such. He balances the humour and sombre aspects well.
I liked how Tom’s Doctor observed/worked out what was going on with the penal colony, interacting with the convicts and such. He does get upset when K-9 dies and when he gets angry…he’s angry! 😀
Lalla Ward is equally wonderful to listen to as Romana in this adventure. It’s interesting how Romana behaves towards Adric in these audio stories, being described in almost maternal ‘teacher’-like role.
I enjoyed the interactions Romana has with K-9 and when she gets annoyed with him for not saying much or speaking to her. I did find her getting annoyed by Crimsson’s admiration of her in this story.
It was great to hear K-9 voiced by John Leeson in this adventure. It’s interesting that K-9 treats the Doctor, Romana and Adric in family roles. When he meets computer Pips, he considers her a ‘friend’.
K-9 helps Adric to challenge the evil Darklish in a dangerous game of chess. It did seem quite emotional when K-9 ‘died’ in ‘Part Four’ of this. If this was on TV, it could’ve easily been K-9’s death.
Matthew Waterhouse is the highlight as Adric in this adventure. It was amazing to hear him bounce off Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana and K-9 and how he coped interacting with them here.
In the story, Adric is still recuperating with the loss of his brother Varsh as he comes to terms with it. He struggles to find a place among the TARDIS crew, believing that a place on Purgatory 12 is better.
The cast also includes Nimmy March as Colonel Aesillor Zyre, who’s in charge of Purgatory 12 and has a connection to Darklish. There’s also George Watkins as the brave, noble knight-like Crimsson. 🙂
There’s also Amy Downham as the devious Scraya and Pips, Crimsson’s ship computer. And there’s Liam Fox as the reptilian alien-like Mang, who is also a convict like Scraya but is friendlier in the tale.
It was tense by the story’s conclusion when Adric had to make a choice whilst the monster-like Darklish was banging on the TARDIS door outside. Crimsson also takes the ‘forgiven’ convicts to safety. 🙂
I enjoyed ‘Purgatory 12’. There are confusing moments in the story as is usually the case with Marc Platt stories and Season 18 overall, but I enjoyed hearing the Fourth Doctor, Romana, Adric and K-9.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Discs 1 and 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew. The interviewees include Tom Baker, Lalla Ward, Matthew Waterhouse, John Leeson, director Nicholas Briggs, script editor John Dorney, producer David Richardson, etc.
‘Purgatory 12’ rating – 8/10
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