‘Purgatory 12’ (Audio)


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!

Tom Baker and Matthew Waterhouse in ‘Purgatory 12’.

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 and Matthew Waterhouse in ‘Purgatory 12’.

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.

Tom Baker and Nimmy March in ‘Purgatory 12’.

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

The previous story

For the Fourth Doctor was

  • ‘A Full Life’ (ST/Audio)

For Romana was

  • ‘A Full Life’ (ST/Audio)

For K-9 Mk II was

For Adric was

  • ‘A Full Life’ (ST/Audio)
The next story

For the Fourth Doctor is

For Romana is

For K-9 Mk II is

For Adric is

Return to The Fourth Doctor’s Timeline
Return to Romana’s Timeline
Return to The Timelines of K-9
Return to Adric’s Timeline
Return to The Doctors’ Timelines Index
Return to The Companions’ Timelines Index
Return to Doctor Who Timelines
Return to Doctor Who
Return to Sci-Fi

8 thoughts on “‘Purgatory 12’ (Audio)

  1. Timelord 007

    Great review Tim, a excellent audio drama this although i only came to that conclusion on my second listen as my first listen was constantly interrupted Grrrrrrr.

    I never thought I’d ever get to hear Tom, Lalla, Matthew & John record a story together let alone record 4, Marc Platt very good at creating a unsettling atmosphere to his stories & hooks the listener in then builds on the characters situation.

    A great start to this new set of E-Space audio dramas superbly reviewed with depth & detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Very pleased you enjoyed my review on ‘Purgatory 12’. Sorry your first listening experience of this audio drama was fraught with interruptions. Glad you were able to enjoy the story on a second listen.

      I hoped for some more audio adventures with Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana, Matthew Waterhouse’s Adric and John Leeson’s K-9 set in E-Space. I’m glad Big Finish were able to do them and it was so surreal to hear these four characters back together for these audio dramas. Marc Platt does well with re-introducing them in this story.

      Many thanks for your kind comments, Simon.

      Tim. 🙂


  2. helenofvulcan

    You can chalk me up as yet another who was surprised to see this TARDIS team get together again… Well, I understand they weren’t in the same studio at the same time, but hey – kudos, ’cause you can’t tell from the way the audio flows 🙂 I was also surprised to see the pictures; given the various tales and interviews &c, so I’m not really sure what to make of them! However, everyone seem to get back into their roles and the relationships between the characters smoothly, which was great for continuity.

    Generally I’m not into penal colony / prison stories; it’s a setting I’m not crazy about, which I freely admit strongly colours my opinion, but I didn’t get the ‘constant threat’ vibe from this which is one of the usual factors that turns me off. In fact, I really liked Mang! I also liked Crimsson – he managed to be endearing as the hopeless hero, rather than irritating, as such characters tend to be, but I felt he fell victim to my next point.

    I had a sense that a bit too much was going on in this story at times and that it was too crowded. It seemed to want to cover too much ground and while all the various elements were very interesting and entertaining, I started to feel that they weren’t really getting the attention each deserved.

    The opening seemed to be setting up some sort of resolution for Adric concerning his brother, since he’s obviously still mourning Varsh… but that kind of fades off as the story gets underway; like the writer said “Okay, I’ve acknowledged it and now I’m done!” until he suddenly remembers to throw the last bit in at the end, which felt disjointed. The other precedent it sets is that whenever anyone is nice or sympathetic about Adric, it always seems to be behind his back! Did no-one ever just give that boy a hug? (Or at least, did no-one still alive do so… Autumn… too soon?)

    I also come across my first consistent criticism of the BF audios; is it just me, or does Romana sound constantly annoyed for no good reason during these Radio Plays? I don’t remember her being quite this irritable on the TV show, for all that she was often impatient. (Neither am I in a position to judge whether it’s the actress, writers or directors).

    This is probably my least favourite of the audio range that I have so far, although it still falls within the ‘like’ bracket. It’s lovely to hear K9 again, and he provides some wonderful bits of humour throughout; I especially enjoyed his relationship with PIPS and I really hope they do this kind of thing more often.

    I also appreciate that we get more about E-Space – we do now have a kind of ‘E-Space Season’ 🙂 – and these stories continue the same kind of character that the original trilogy had; a sense of restriction and decline.

    Here’s hoping we hear more from this TARDIS team as well!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      Thanks for sharing your insight into this story.

      Interesting criticisms you have. I must admit, I’ve only heard ‘Purgatory 12’ once and my experience of the story is more positive compared to yours. I enjoyed hearing Tom Baker’s Doctor, Lalla Ward’s Romana, Matthew Waterhouse’s Adric and John Leeson’s K-9 interacting with each other for the first time. The listening experience of this TARDIS team got better the more I listened to their Big Finish audios. Season 18 is a strange season, but I like creativeness the stories can sometimes be and Marc Platt does ‘cover a lot of ground’ like you said in this one.

      I’ll be interested to hear what you make of the other stories of ‘The E-Space Season’ as well as other stories made by Big Finish. I can’t deny the Big Finish aren’t altogether perfect, but I always look for the positives and negatives and weigh them out as to whether the story provided me an enjoyable experience or not. My memories of ‘Purgatory 12’ are more positive than negative, but then I must’ve been in a good mood when hearing this story and the rest of the E-Space audios during the lockdown period we had in 2020.

      Many thanks for your comments, Helen.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. helenofvulcan

        Hey Tim 🙂

        I tend to listen to the audios from those I expect to enjoy least to most, which means Purgatory 12 was first up as it was set on a penal colony. I have listened to it twice so far, but I always dig up something new on re-listens 🙂 I do have more criticism of this one than the others of the E-Space series… but I never let enjoying something stop me from tearing it to shreds afterwards. (I have nobody to go to the cinema with, any more, and it’s entirely my own fault!) On balance, I enjoyed Purgatory 12 and am glad to have it in my selection. There won’t be so many in the other three – I promise!! 🙂

        My real interest in Dr Who starts with Season 18 – I can take or leave the previous Doctors, and it isn’t so much the Fourth Doctor I enjoy as it is this TARDIS team as a whole. I love the idea of E-Space – I think Big Finish successfully adds to it, and it does show the care and attention they give to even a relatively minor part of the original series. True, nothing is perfect, but Big Finish seems very conscious of getting it right and staying true to the spirit of Classic Who while fixing those flaws that had got into the TV series (eg, the companions, as we’ve discussed 🙂 ).

        Saying E-Space had a ‘sense of restriction and decline’ came across as a criticism, I realise, and I didn’t mean it to be so. The E-Space universe itself feels like it’s being affected by the additional entropy pouring into it through the CVEs by Logopolis. It’s a marvellous concept, and one I find fascinating. E-Space has an almost horror-genre feel, which I’ve enjoyed seeing the Doctor &co up against – the ‘restriction and decline’ being a fundamental part of its nature; it proves Dr Who really can work well across any genre!


        Liked by 1 person

      2. Tim Bradley Post author

        Hi Helen.

        I find myself enjoying the Season 18, Season 19 and Season 20 eras of ‘Doctor Who’ more than I intend to enjoy some of the other eras. I still enjoy the likes of the David Tennant and Jodie Whittaker eras, but it’s the Peter Davison era that I feel a close connection to, especially with stories featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Adric as well as the solo Fifth Doctor/Nyssa stories I’ve enjoyed from Big Finish.

        Thanks for sharing your insight about the E-Space Trilogy/Season as a whole and what you think of Season 18. You have some very intriguing insight into that era and I have enjoyed reading your thoughts and theories about that particular era.

        I look forward to what more insight you have to offer when you come to read another one of my reviews.

        Tim. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  3. helenofvulcan

    I’m pretty selective about my Dr Who. Of the NuWho, Tennant is more-or-less my only Doctor. I maintain an interest in Eccleston because I’m also very keen on Torchwood and the Jack Harkness character, and it leads so much into the Tenth Doctor era as well.

    I love the Seventh Doctor and Ace (but can take or leave Mel; she doesn’t really interest me, much). Davison is my favourite of the Classics, particularly Season 19 as Adric was one of my earliest memories of Dr Who when I was a kid, and I’ve always been fond of the character. However, Season 18 has such outstanding stories – at least from the E-Space trilogy onwards – that I’d be doing myself a real disservice not to consider myself a fan of it 🙂

    I tend to get very invested in the fiction I enjoy, but as you can tell from the above, I’m also horrendously picky about it!!


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Helen.

      I’m currently looking forward to the Tenth Doctor-related Big Finish audios starring David Tennant that are coming out this year as well as the Ninth Doctor audios with Christopher Eccleston. It’ll be very exciting to hear Christopher Eccleston playing the Ninth Doctor on audio for the first time.

      I’ve enjoyed the Seventh Doctor and Ace stories very much too. I like Mel and feel her Big Finish audios are better than the TV appearances she did, especially when she screamed a lot. Glad to hear the Peter Davison era is your favourite era and that you like Seasons 18 and 19.

      Glad you continue to enjoy the stories made by Big Finish in ‘Doctor Who’ and it’s good to hear you have positive and critical opinions about them.

      Tim. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person


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