‘ELDRAD MUST DIE!’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Eldrad with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough
“Eldrad must live!”
No, you fool! He must die! Die, Eldrad! Eldrad must die! Die Eldrad, die! Die! DIE!!!
Sorry. I got carried away there. ‘Eldrad Must Die!’ is a superb sequel to the classic Tom Baker story, ‘The Hand of Fear’, that was also Sarah Jane’s last story. It features the Fifth Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and the older Nyssa and stars Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton in this.
This four-part story is by Marc Platt, who has written for this Fifth Doctor team before in ‘The Cradle of the Snake’ and previously ‘The Butcher of Brisbane’. Marc has a knack of writing superb sequels to classic Tom Baker stories where Peter Davison’s Doctor sorts out unfinished business which I enjoy.
The story is set in a seaside town in England 2013, where the Doctor, Tegan, Nyssa and Turlough visit for a spot of sea paddling. Turlough meets up with a school chum from his Brendan School days and is recruited when his body gets encased with quartz crystal. It soon turns out that “Eldrad must die!”
‘Eldrad Must Die!’ is interesting as a sequel to ‘The Hand of Fear’, since how do you bring back a villain who died at the end of that story. But if you watch ‘The Hand of Fear’ closely, Tom Baker’s Doctor threw Eldrad’s ring into the abyss after its owner on Kastria, which was rather careless really.
Also in ‘The Hand of Fear’, it’s implied that more parts of Eldrad’s body as well as his hand were scattered across the cosmos after his execution on Kastria. In this story, it is one of Eldrad’s eyes that managed to survive. I’m surprised this wasn’t called ‘The Eye of Fear’ instead of ‘Eldrad Must Die!’
It’s also revealed that the Eldrad who fell into the abyss on Kastria managed to survive by climbing up from the depths to the surface. Also there are more than on one Eldrad to contend which makes things hard for the Doctor to deal with. Marc does well expanding the legacy of Eldard trying to ‘live’.
I liked how this story is set in a contemporary atmosphere that smells fishy and seaside-like. Some of the action takes place on the road with car chases and out on the sea where our heroes discover a ginormous quartz iceberg of Kastrian design that rises up out of the sea and has ships trapped inside.
The story touches upon the themes of possession that Sarah Jane went through in ‘The Hand of Fear’. Most of the characters get taken over by Eldrad and encased with quartz crystal, over their arms and faces. It is pretty frightening when characters say “Eldrad must live!” or “Eldrad must die!”
This is an interesting story for Mark Strickson as Turlough. We get to learn a little more about him, as he meets up with a school chum from Brendan School. Turlough gets taken over and has quartz crystals over his arms. He gets to do what Sarah Jane did, but instead he says that “Eldrad must die!”
I liked Turlough’s scenes when we get to hear inside his head and he has daydream-like sequences where he’s back in Brendan School and the Doctor; Nyssa and Tegan are in them. It was interesting when Turlough changes sides beyond his will, shifting from “Eldrad must die!” to “Eldrad must live!”
Sarah Sutton is lovely as Nyssa in this adventure. I liked it when Nyssa tries to communicate with the sea whale Skipper in ‘Part Two’ by going into the water tank to make contact. Nyssa has this lovely, caring side for animals and I liked it when she tries to calm Skipper down when wanting to help him.
Nyssa gets to go with the Doctor and Kate to the gigantic quartz iceberg out on sea, when Tegan and Turlough aren’t with them. Nyssa does get taken over and says “Eldrad must live!” at some point and gets stranded when the TARDIS leaves her. But she has her own adventure in ‘Part Four’ that I liked.
Janet Fielding is pretty good as Tegan in this adventure too. She has the balance of the caring side to her as well as the hot-tempered manner. Even when she’s distrusts Turlough, she still cares for him especially when going to rescue him. I liked it when she manages to get the keys of a car off someone.
I liked it when Tegan and Turlough are sharing scenes together and sometimes bickering with each other when trying to find the Doctor and Nyssa. It soon transpires that Tegan is infected with quartz crystal, covering her arms and face too. She has a defining scene, helping Turlough to defeat Eldrad.
Peter Davison is also good as the Doctor in this one. Here the Doctor is astonished that Eldrad still lives as he thought he died. Peter’s Doctor is not like Tom Baker’s Doctor, as he is more responsible and concerned. He gets determined to sort out Eldrad out and see that his companions are in check.
I like the Doctor’s scenes confronting Mulkris when trying to work out what happened when Eldrad’s bodily remains were scattered. Also his scenes when confronting Eldrad in his mind aboard the TARDIS and when confronting him on Kastria at last in ‘Part Four’ were truly inspirational to listen to.
Stephen Thorne returns as Eldrad. Stephen has such a great, villainous voice and I loved that opening monologue he has at the beginning where ‘he must live’. The story builds up Eldrad’s appearance throughout until we get to ‘Parts Three and Four’ of this adventure, which was so worth waiting for.
Nancy Carroll guest stars as Mulkris, who turns out to be Eldrad’s executioner on Kastria. Nancy delivers a mesmerising performance. Mulkris is hell-bent on seeking Eldrad and destroying his remains. She speaks to Turlough in his mind and she is so determined to see that “Eldrad must die!”
Pip Torrens guest stars as Charlie Gibbs. I’ve seen Pip Torrens in ‘Jeeves & Wooster’ and he was in the Tenth Doctor story ‘Human Nature’/’The Family of Blood’. I was delighted to hear Pip as Charlie who was Turlough’s friend at Brendan School and he happens to come from Trion, Turlough’s home.
Jessica Claire guest stars as Kate Sherrin. Kate is a scientist at a seacology centre who spots the Doctor and his friends out on the beach. She joins the Doctor and Nyssa and has an adventure out to sea on the gigantic quartz iceberg. Kate is so out of depth with everything that goes on with Eldrad.
A special character is Skipper the whale, who is taken into care by Kate at the seacology centre. I like how the sound designs for the whale was created, reminding me of ‘Star Trek IV’. Skipper is a whale in distress that is infected with quartz crystal. He says “Eldrad must die!” and the Doctor is shocked.
‘Eldrad Must Die!’ is a superb sequel to ‘The Hand of Fear’. I enjoyed listening to this adventure with the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough and it is well-written by Marc Platt. It’s an interesting story for Turlough; has a triumphant return of Stephen Thorne as Eldrad and it has gripping action scenes.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there is a suite of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Peter Davison; Sarah Sutton; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson; writer Marc Platt; director Ken Bentley; etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Eldrad Must Die!’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Eldrad Must Die!’.
There is a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa called ‘The Lady of Mercia’.
‘Eldrad Must Die!’ rating – 8/10
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