Please feel free to comment on my review.
The Human of Death
This time, it’s not the robots who are the killers! It’s one human!
‘Robophobia’ is a fantastic sequel to ‘The Robots of Death’! I enjoyed this solo adventure with the Seventh Doctor meeting those robots from that TV story. It’s full of nostalgic references and contains a twist in the traditional plot elements that we are familiar with as ‘Doctor Who’ fans from that story.
‘The Robots of Death’ is one of my favourite stories from the Tom Baker era! I loved the whodunit murder mystery elements and the exploration of robotics. There have been a number of sequels including ‘Corpse Marker’; but this is Big Finish’s first full venture into ‘The Robots of Death’ territory.
This is a four-part story written and directed by Nicholas Briggs. I really liked how Nick Briggs approaches this sequel to ‘The Robots of Death’ from a unique angle. The story is set a couple of months after the harrowing events of that story and presents the robots as not the killers we expect.
The Doctor arrives on a spaceship called the Lorelei, a transport ship taking over a hundred thousand robots to Kaldor City. But a murder takes place aboard the spaceship, which the Doctor witnesses. With the help of the Lorelei crew, the Doctor is hoping to uncover the true culprit in these murders.
The story is interesting as it depicts events from the Lorelei crew’s point of view rather than the Doctor’s. This is their story as they try to understand what’s going on and listen to the Doctor on what’s happening. It does makes for tense drama and reintroduces the whodunit elements superbly.
This story also reinforces the ‘Robophobia’ or ‘Grimwade’s Syndrome’ introduced in the original TV story. I liked the nods and references to that story as to what with the robots killing the crew of the sandminer and people reacting with fear when they hear about these events that were covered up.
Sylvester McCoy delivers a superb performance as the Doctor in this adventure. The Doctor is travelling alone here, which made me wonder where this story takes place in his personal timeline. Does it take place after his adventures with Ace and Hex, or during that time? I didn’t know of it yet.
The Doctor is an observer in this story. He witnesses the murder of Matt Addis as Tal Karus and he gets involved during the action when he warns and tells the crew what’s happening with the robots. He forms a nice connection with Liv Chenka who he confides in and is giving vital information to her.
This story features the first appearance of Nicola Walker as Liv Chenka. Liv is a med-tech (physician) aboard the Lorelei. Liv met Tal Karus briefly as he showed an interest in her. Liv is distressed about his murder and comes across as a strong character, acting as the Doctor’s one-time companion here.
Most of the supporting cast in this audio drama I know pretty well from other ‘Doctor Who’ roles and have met at conventions. These include Toby Hadoke; Dan Starkey and Nicholas Pegg. It was a thrill to listen to these guys in this audio, knowing I’ve met them and had the pleasure of chatting to them.
Toby Hadoke guest stars as Farel, the security chief of the Lorelei. Toby is well-known for his ‘Doctor Who’ stand-up show ‘Moths Ate My Doctor Who Scarf’. I liked the character he plays as Farel, who is easily frazzled by what goes on in this story. I was so startled by the twist in his character at the end.
Dan Starkey guest stars as Carvnet, the deputy security chief aboard the Lorelei. Dan is well-known for playing the Sontarans, both in the Big Finish audios and in the new TV series. I found Carvnet amusing as he does his job, but people forget him and he annoys them when reporting information.
Nicholas Pegg guest stars as Selerat, the commander aboard the Lorelei. Nick Pegg is currently one of the Dalek operators in the new TV series. Selerat is like the Uvanov character from ‘The Robots of Death’ since he’s an easily frustrated commander and is wanting to deliver the robots to Kaldor City.
And let’s not forget those elegant robots in this story. The robots sound so polite and creepy as they were in ‘The Robots of Death’. I could easily visualise them in this audio as they serve humanity. The voices for these robots include Matt Addis, Nick Briggs, John Dorney, Toby Hadoke and Dan Starkey.
I liked how in this story, it turns out that the robots aren’t doing the killings. It turns out that it is one of the humans that is doing the killings. But which one of the humans is it? Can you guess? It’s someone who suffers from Robophobia. I was very surprised by who that human turned out to be!
Here’s another question to you! It turns out that the Doctor’s TARDIS’ exterior is now black. Black? Not the blue police box we know and love? This got me puzzled! Why is the TARDIS black? One time it was white from ‘The Angel of Scutari’ to ‘Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge’. Is there a connection in this?!
I have enjoyed ‘Robophobia’ very much. It’s a brilliant audio sequel to ‘The Robots of Death’ by Nick Briggs. The cast are superb from Sylvester McCoy; Nicola Walker; Toby Hadoke; Dan Starkey and Nicholas Pegg. This story easily captivated me into that murder-solving atmosphere of the TV story.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music. At the end of Disc 2, there is a trailer for ‘Recorded Time and Other Stories’ with Colin Baker and Nicola Bryant. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew and an additional track of music.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Robophobia’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Robophobia’.
‘Robophobia’ rating – 10/10
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