Please feel free to comment on my review.
Slarn with the Sixth Doctor and Peri
In 1985, ‘Doctor Who’ was on trial for its life in more ways than one! The BBC had decided to postpone the TV series ‘Doctor Who’ for eighteen months, which caused an outcry among the fans.
There were campaigns for the show to return including stickers; telephone campaigns and a charity music single called ‘Doctor in Distress’. But it was guaranteed that the TV show would return in 1986.
In that interim during that hiatus of 1985/86, there was one official ‘Doctor Who’ story made before the TV series came back in ‘The Trial of a Time Lord’. That was the radio adventure called…‘Slipback’.
‘Slipback’ is a six-part adventure by Eric Saward. Though when I say ‘six-part adventure’, I actually mean that it’s six ten-minute episodes that was broadcast on ‘Pirate Radio Four’ between July and August 1985.
The story stars Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. It was great to hear Colin and Nicola as the Doctor and Peri in this since I’d been hearing them in the Big Finish audio stories.
But this is not like a Big Finish audio! Oh no! It’s quite unusual and unique in its own way, as the six episodes run past quite quickly. Also there doesn’t seem to be enough story to tell in all six episodes.
I don’t think ‘Slipback’ is a great ‘Doctor Who’ adventure to listen to. But it has been fun and interesting. I’m not sure what the point of the story was, except for the Big Bang thing at the climax.
There’s also this atmosphere of ‘The Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ in the radio adventure. This is especially as many of the characters like the Computer sound like they come from the radio/TV series or book.
Colin Baker is very good as the Doctor in this radio adventure. I imagine that Colin must have been under a lot of pressure when making this radio drama whilst the TV show was put on trial back then.
Nicola Bryant is lovely to hear as Peri in this adventure. It was fun when Peri gets to have her own adventure in the story, since she gets separated from the Doctor before she reunites with him later on.
Valentine Dyall guest stars as Captain Slarn in this radio adventure. Valentine Dyall is very well-known in radio as The Man in Black and he’s also played the Black Guardian in the ‘Doctor Who’ TV series.
It was intriguing to hear Valentine as Slarn in this radio adventure. Slarn didn’t do much as he had lava baths and massages in the story. It was sadly Valentine’s final acting job before he died in 1986.
Jane Carr guest stars as the Computer in this radio adventure. I did find the Computer voice annoying at first since she sounded like a dumb American blonde. Much like how Sandra Dickinson sounds.
It became interesting when the Computer had a split personality during the story, as there were two versions of the character. One had a sinister normal voice and the other had a very comedic voice.
The guest cast also includes John Glover as Grant; Nick Revell as Snatch; Ron Pember as Seedle and Alan Thompson as Slarn’s Stewart. All delivere intriguing performances on their characters in this.
There’s one point of the story I got confused by. The space liner in the story was responsible for causing the Big Bang of the universe. This does contradict what happened in the events featured in ‘Terminus’.
‘Slipback’ has been an enjoyable radio adventure to listen to with the Sixth Doctor and Peri. I don’t think it’s the greatest radio adventure ever made, but it was good it was made during the 1985/86 hiatus.
‘The BBC Radio Episodes’ CD collection has been an enjoyable set of audio adventures from ‘Doctor Who’. They’re different from the Big Finish audios and some of them aren’t great. I enjoyed the Jon Pertwee radio dramas and ‘Slipback’ with Colin Baker more than I enjoyed the Tom Baker stories.
‘Slipback’ rating – 6/10
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