‘THE LOVECRAFT INVASION’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
H.P. Lovecraft with the Sixth Doctor, Constance and Flip
This ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure was a lot better than I had anticipated.
‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ is a four-part adventure by Robert Valentine. I’ve not come across Robert Valentine as a ‘Doctor Who’ writer before and this was my first experience of him. So far, he’s made a good impression. I’m hoping I will enjoy more ‘Doctor Who’ stories by him featuring other Doctors.
This is a unique ‘Doctor Who’ adventure. ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ has Colin Baker as the Sixth Doctor, Miranda Raison as Constance and Lisa Greenwood as Flip meeting sci-fi/horror/fantasy author H.P. Lovecraft. They hope to stop a monster called the Somnifax bringing Lovecraft’s fiction into reality. 😐
I’ve not read any fiction by Lovecraft at all. I became aware of him as an author when I heard the ‘Doctor Who’ story ‘Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge’ featuring the Seventh Doctor, Ace and Hex. It had Lovecraftian imagery and references in it and had a character with his name based on H.P. Lovecraft.
In many ways, ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ is a good introduction to H.P. Lovecraft as an author as our Sixth Doctor TARDIS trio actually get to meet him. I struggled with ‘Lurkers at Sunlight’s Edge’ due to my lack of Lovecraftian knowledge, but it was easy to follow who he was in ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’.
With that said, this ‘Doctor Who’ story doesn’t really encourage me to check out Lovecraft’s work as an author. I’m not really a horror fan and by the sounds of it, Lovecraft’s work as an author seems off-putting. This is especially when I don’t know much about the characters and worlds he created. 😐
There’s also another factor involved with me not wanting to check out Lovecraft’s works as an author. You see, ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ was originally meant to be released in June 2020. Instead, it got delayed and pushed back for a July 2020 release along with ‘Time Apart’ featuring Peter Davison.
Now it’s said there were production issues regarding ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ getting released due to the Covid-19 pandemic happening at the time. I suppose that is true in a sense, but I imagine it’s more to do with the Black Lives Matter movement happening in the wake of George Floyd’s death.
Yeah unfortunately, as it turns out, H.P. Lovecraft happened to be a racist. And with all that was going on in America at the time of this story’s release due to the Black Lives Matter movement, Big Finish amended the story with additional dialogue so they can reflect the current times respectively.
I don’t approve of racism. It’s good Big Finish added in the extra dialogue into the story that condemned Lovecraft’s racism. Knowing H.P. Lovecraft was a racist in his time makes me want to check out his work less and less. It tarnishes his reputation and his work the more you think about it.
It’s a shame how the things you used to enjoy watching/reading/hearing get tarnished by the people who make them, as the Doctor and Flip emphasise when discussing Lovecraft as an author. For a while, I used to like watching ‘A Fix with Sontarans’ starring Colin Baker’s Doctor and Gareth Jenkins.
It’s still a good little ‘Doctor Who’ sketch with a fan meeting his Doctor, yet nowadays, it’s tarnished because of the fact it was on ‘Jim’ll Fix It’, hosted by Jimmy Saville. It’s also a shame that author Gareth Roberts and actor James Dreyfus have had their careers jeopardised by what they have said.
I like how this story doesn’t present H.P. Lovecraft as an all-out villain as he’s clearly someone who is flawed and in his own way, he must have been a friendly chap at times. It’s such a shame that very often his cowardice and prejudiced views got the better of him which makes him less of a good man.
Colin Baker continues to be excellent as the Sixth Doctor in these audio adventures. I like how Colin’s Doctor tackles the Somnifax menace when it invades Providence, Rhode Island in 1937 before it latches onto Lovecraft. I like how the Doctor tackles Lovecraft and his racism in a diplomatic manner.
The scenes between Colin’s Doctor and Flip are excellent when they venture into Lovecraft’s mind to sort out the Somnifax. The Doctor and Flip spend a lot of time together in Lovecraft’s mind whilst Constance is outside in the real world. The Doctor doesn’t have a lot of scenes with Constance here.
The scene where the Doctor and Flip talk about Lovecraft’s racism in ‘Part One’ is stand-out for me. I was mesmerised by the scene in ‘Part Four’ where the Doctor condemns Lovecraft for his views and saying that they are not of ‘alike minds’. Lovecraft is left dumbfounded as the Doctor reprimands him.
Miranda Raison is equally excellent as Constance in this audio story. Constance spends more time with Lovecraft and Calypso, the woman who accompanies her, the Doctor and Flip to stop the Somnifax on Earth. She deals with the real world whilst the Doctor and Flip are in Lovecraft’s mind. 😐
Constance is sort-of near Lovecraft’s timeframe since she comes from the late 1940s whilst he’s living in the late 1930s. However, Constance disapproves of Lovecraft’s bigoted views since she herself fought in a war against bigotry. She’d be on the side of those who are victimised by bigotry. 🙂
Unlike Calypso who’s quite trigger-happy, Constance is more restrained and diplomatic, matching to how the Doctor tackles the bigoted aspects of H.P. Lovecraft. I like how Constance is resourceful in the outside world when she, Calypso and Lovecraft are tackling some very deadly fictional menaces.
Lisa Greenwood is equally good as Flip in this audio adventure. Unlike Constance who doesn’t know anything about H.P. Lovecraft’s works as an author, Flip does as she read his works years ago before meeting up with the Doctor. She accompanies the Doctor when he ventures into Lovecraft’s mind. 🙂
Flip is on hand to share her knowledge and expertise about Lovecraft’s fiction when she and the Doctor are inside his mind and trying to locate the Somnifax. I like how Flip shares what she thought of Lovecraft’s work at the time she read them before she discovered about his bigotry to the Doctor.
When venturing in Lovecraft’s mind, Flip and the Doctor encounter many dangers whilst helped by Lovecraft’s heroic counterpart in the form of Randolph Carter. This story has more scenes featuring the Sixth Doctor and Flip together compared to previous stories featuring Sixy, Constance and Flip. 🙂
Robyn Holdaway guest stars as Calypso Jonze, a 51st century bounty hunter that helps the Doctor, Constance and Flip with hunting down the Somnifax. Caylpso happens to be of a mixed race and is pansexual; trans; and non-binary. She struggles to cope with being around Lovecraft and his views. 😐
Alan Marriott guest stars as H.P. Lovecraft in the adventure. Alan Marriott is a very good actor gives a convincing performance as Lovecraft. He also plays Randolph Carter, a fictional character who accompanies the Doctor and Flip when hunting the Somnifax and is Lovecraft’s ‘heroic counterpart’.
The story also features David Menkin playing Shaggoth, Wilbur and Armitage and there’s Jonathan Andrew Hume playing Nyarlathotep and Cthulhu. A lot of these characters are probably based on Lovecraft’s works of fiction which I don’t know much about and resolve around the Cthulhu Mythos.
I think the aspects of the story that had me gripped were the fascinating revelations about Lovecraft and his bigoted views as well as the journeys of the Sixth Doctor, Flip and Carter as well as Constance, Calypso and Lovecraft. They were far more compelling than the Lovecraftian fiction itself.
‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ has been a fascinating and intriguing ‘Doctor Who’ audio adventure to listen to! I don’t think it’s one I would want to listen to over and over again now I know more about who H.P. Lovecraft is, but the actors’ performances are good and the writing by Robert Valentine is good.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there’s a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there’s a trailer for ‘Time Apart’ with Peter Davison. There are also behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Colin Baker, Miranda Raison, Lisa Greenwood, director Scott Handcock, writer Robert Valentine, etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ via a 6 or 12 CD/download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There’s a PDF script and extended extras for ‘The Lovecraft Invasion’. There’s also a bonus Short Trip called ‘Home Again, Home Again’ with the First Doctor, read by Stephen Critchlow.
‘The Lovecraft Invasion’ rating – 8/10
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