‘THE GUARDIANS OF PROPHECY’
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A Visit to Serenity with Malador and the Melkurs
The terrifying Melkurs are back! And so are the Sixth Doctor and Peri!
‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ is the first of an audio trilogy of ‘Lost Stories’ featuring Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor and Nicola Bryant as Peri. I recall purchasing these three stories from Big Finish when I was getting to be a subscriber of theirs and when I had my own account via their website from 2011.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ signed by Colin Baker at the ‘Stars of Time Film and Comic Con 2016 @ The Tropicana’, Weston-super-Mare, August 2016. I like this story, especially since it’s a sequel to one of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories from the 80s – ‘The Keeper of Traken’!
I must admit I was a little unhappy that ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ wasn’t a Fifth Doctor and Nyssa story instead of a Sixth Doctor and Peri story. I feel ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ is more suited to the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa, especially as this has references to Traken and Melkurs in Nyssa’s first story.
But apparently ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ was originally written to feature the Sixth Doctor and Peri in it for TV. So I suppose I can forgive Big Finish for keeping to the story’s original premise at the time it was commissioned back in the 80s. And I don’t mind that it’s Six and Peri for this audio story.
I eventually wrote my own Traken styled story featuring the Fifth Doctor, Nyssa and Billy called ‘The Tree of Riverloth’ for my ‘Fifth Doctor by Tim Bradley’ series on my blog. I even gained inspiration from ‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ as well as ‘Primeval’ and ‘The Keeper of Traken’ to write my story.
‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ was originally a four-part story by Johnny Bryne for the TV series. Johnny Byrne has contributed three ‘Doctor Who’ stories for the TV series. As well as ‘The Keeper of Traken’, he also wrote ‘Arc of Infinity’ and ‘Warriors of the Deep’. This story is meant to be a sequel to ‘Traken’.
It’s a shame Johnny Byrne’s ‘Guardians of Prophecy’ story never got shown on TV. But thankfully years later, Big Finish decided to adapt Johnny Byrne’s story for audio and Jonathan Morris was chosen to adapt it. I’m pleased Jonny Morris adapted Johnny Byrne’s story since he is a good writer.
Jonny Morris has written some of my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ stories in Big Finish, including ones with the Fifth Doctor and Nyssa. He’s able to inject emotion and drama into his stories which I can easily tap into. So to have Jonny Morris write a Johnny Bryne ‘Doctor Who’ story was so equally delightful.
The story has the Doctor and Peri visiting the planet Serenity, which is the last surviving world of the Traken union. Peri’s hopes for a holiday get squandered as Serenity comes under a new dark force. Very soon, an army of Melkurs will arise from the grave and the reign of the evil Malador will begin.
I like how the legacy of Traken continues in this ‘Doctor Who’ story by having another similar Traken world in the form of Serenity that was destroyed by the entropy field in ‘Logopolis’. The planet Serenity’s been mentioned before in ‘Cold Fusion’ and I mentioned it in my ‘Tree of Riverloth’ story.
In this story, there isn’t a Keeper on Serenity. The people put their face in a super computer called Prophecy to which the Guardian has ‘conference’ with. There’s this sense of unrest in the Serenity community as the lower classes believe that the aristocracy are enjoying their luxury a bit too much.
I’m pleased with how Jonny Morris has adapted Johnny Byrne’s story and kept it in the style of ‘The Keeper of Traken’ whilst also providing new elements to it. The highlight of this story is of course the Melkurs. Hearing that there was going to be an army of Melkurs in this story got me very excited. 😀
Colin Baker returns as the Doctor in this audio adventure. I’m pleased how Big Finish have made these lost TV stories of ‘Doctor Who’ into audios for Colin’s Doctor. I like how he tackles the dangers of this adventure, especially when he deals with the Melkurs as well as the villainous Malador in this.
By this point, the Sixth Doctor seems to be mellowed and isn’t the brash character he was from the TV series. Colin’s Doctor feels more heroic and determined to stop the evil caused by Malador and the Melkurs. I especially liked how he interacted with Peri, Ebbko and the citizens of planet Serenity.
Nicola Bryant is superb as Peri in this audio adventure. I like how resourceful Peri is and she seems willing to help out when Serenity is in trouble from the Melkurs and Malador. She has her own adventure when separated from the Doctor as she; Ebbko and Augu enter into the Tomb of Malador.
Peri occasionally gets to make jokey remarks in the face of danger and I like how Nicola Bryant balances the bravery and fear in her performance from that. Peri gets especially anxious when the Doctor’s in danger. She’s willing to stand by him and not let him out of his sight when he ventures in.
Graham Cole guest stars as Autolycus Ebbko, a loveable rogue in this story. Graham Cole is well-known for playing the original Melkur in ‘The Keeper of Traken’ story. I like his character of Ebbko. He starts working for Auga before he allies himself with the Doctor and Peri to stop the evil Malador.
There are times when Ebbko’s anecdotes aren’t required in the right place and right time though. 😀 Graham Cole also does the voice for the Melkurs in this ‘Doctor Who’ story too. This was interesting as we hear what these actual Melkurs sound like and not voiced by Geoffrey Beevers as the Master.
Stephen Thorne guest stars as the villainous Malador in this story. Stephen Thorne has done many villainous roles in ‘Doctor Who’ including Azal in ‘The Dæmons’, Omega in ‘The Three Doctors’, and Eldrad in ‘The Hand of Fear’. Stephen has also done Treebeard in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ radio series.
I greatly enjoyed Stephen Thorne’s villainous performance as Malador in this adventure. Malador is like Serenity or Traken’s interpretation of the devil (one of them), much like Kwundaar in ‘Primeval’. It was chilling when he arose from his tomb and how he was causing havoc to the people of Serenity.
Simon Williams guest stars as the Guardian in this adventure. For many ‘Doctor Who’ fans, Simon Williams is well-known for playing Group-Captain Ian ‘Chunky’ Gilmore in ‘Remembrance of the Daleks’ with Sylvester McCoy as well as reprising the role in the spin-off series, ‘Counter-Measures’.
I like how Simon Williams provides Welsh tones to his voice for the Guardian in this story, especially when he begs ‘conference’ with Prophecy before inserting his key in. The Guardian seems to be in overall charge of the Consuls of Serenity as he has this certain wisdom coordinating political matters.
The guest cast also includes James George as Commander Mura, the head guard on Serenity. It was interesting how Mura began initiating and leading a revolution against the hierarchy of Serenity, speaking on behalf of the lower classes despite doing terrible things. He soon gets his comeuppance.
There’s also Nigel Lambert as Auga, the court recorder and chief historian on Serenity. There’s also Victoria Pritchard as Consul Felia and the voice of Prophecy as well as Glynn Sweet as Consul Horgan. There’s also Duncan Wibsey as Escalus, who gets betrayed by Mura when they steal from the palace.
‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ has been a wonderful ‘Doctor Who’ story to listen to featuring the Sixth Doctor and Peri with Melkurs and Stephen Thorne as Malador. I’m pleased I listened to this story and very glad it gave me some inspiration especially in terms of a sequel for ‘The Keeper of Traken’.
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, including Colin Baker, Nicola Bryant, Graham Cole, Stephen Thorne; Simon Williams; etc. I greatly enjoyed the comments made about ‘The Keeper of Traken’ in the interviews.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Sixth Doctor and Peri called ‘Power Play’.
‘The Guardians of Prophecy’ rating – 9/10
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Fantastic review Tim, your enjoyment of this audio shines throughout your excellent review, this is definitely one of the best Sixth Doctor Lost Stories & brilliantly adapted by Jonathan Morris.
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Glad you enjoyed how my enjoyment of this audio adventure shines in this review by me. I’m very pleased I listened to it for me writing ‘The Tree of Riverloth’ and Jonny Morris is a brilliant writer adapting this story from Johnny Byrne.