‘KISS OF DEATH’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Turlough’s Former Flame
Do you remember your first kiss?
Well, I have kissed girls and women on the cheeks if that counts! ‘Kiss of Death’ is the fifth story in the series of adventures with the Fifth Doctor; Tegan; Turlough and the older Nyssa. This stars Peter Davison; Janet Fielding; Mark Strickson and Sarah Sutton and it is a four-part story by Stephen Cole.
Stephen Cole wrote for this Fifth Doctor team before in ‘The Whispering Forest’. This is an interesting audio adventure to listen to as it delves into Turlough’s past. In this story, Turlough reunites with an old childhood flame, but it isn’t a happy reunion as danger and deceit lurks into this.
I’ve had the CD cover of ‘Kiss of Death’ signed by Sarah Sutton and Mark Strickson, who I both met at the ‘Dimensions 2015’ convention in Newcastle, October 2015. I enjoyed meeting them both at that convention and it was good to hear their thoughts on this story when they were making it back then.
In the story, the TARDIS team takes a break on the beach world of Vektrix. Turlough meets up with his childhood sweetheart Deela on the planet. He gets kidnapped with her and is taken away to an icy world where his palace and treasure are. Will the Doctor; Tegan and Nyssa ever rescue Turlough?
Turlough is a companion that often gets overlooked in ‘Doctor Who’. His character initially was to kill the Doctor in ‘The Black Guardian Trilogy’. But since that story arc finished, Turlough tended to get forgotten during the TV series. This story however has allowed Mark Strickson to shine as Turlough.
I thought it was rather nice to have a story that dealt more with Turlough’s character history. This is rather unusual as Turlough was a mystery and we didn’t know anything about him and his origins. Hints were made later on in ‘Frontios’ and his origins were revealed in his last TV tale ‘Planet of Fire’.
This adventure allows a chance to explore and develop more of Turlough’s character, as we find he’s from a royal family from Trion and that he had an adolescent romance with a girl when he was young. Recently, it was revealed that Turlough was a junior ensign commander in ‘Heroes of Sontar’.
I thought it was nice to have Turlough meeting up with his childhood sweetheart and it makes this a romantic love story for him. I would have preferred a romantic love story with Nyssa, as I fancy her instead of Turlough. Also this story isn’t very sweet and soppy as Nyssa’s love story in ‘Circular Time’.
Mark Strickson gives one of his best performances as Turlough in this. He truly shines and relishes the material he’s been given as Turlough and is able to develop his character. His relationship with Deela is interesting. He turns out to be a romantic at heart instead of a shifty character beforehand.
Lucy Adams guest stars as Deela, Turlough’s childhood sweetheart. Lucy sounds lovely as Deela and it is easy to understand why Turlough fell for her. I liked their relationship being touched upon in this story, especially when they have scenes together and when they are held captive by their enemies.
Both Mark Strickson and Lucy Adams have kissing scenes as Turlough and Deela. These scenes however are forced upon them, since their kisses have to open a door to a palace vault in the story. I would have preferred a more relaxed environment where Turlough has romantic scenes with Deela.
Sarah Sutton is very lovely as Nyssa, my favourite ‘Doctor Who’ companion. She doesn’t have a huge amount to do in this story, since this is Turlough’s show. But I like the character moments she has, especially as the older Nyssa and there are nice references to her family from ‘Circular Time: Winter’.
I liked that first scene that Nyssa has with Tegan. It was interesting how the two women compare to each other, especially since they still share the same TARDIS bedroom and Nyssa is older compared to Tegan. But Tegan doesn’t mind this as Nyssa will always be Nyssa and Tegan will always be Tegan.
I liked the scene that Nyssa has with Turlough in the catacombs, where she’s forgiven him for what happened when he first came aboard the TARDIS. It turns out Nyssa always trusted Turlough, which is interesting and that she never showed a grudge against him when she first met him in the TARDIS.
Nyssa also gets to share some scenes with the Doctor when they’re journeying through the cold catacombs to reach the surface of the wintry world they’ve come upon. Hearing them both together was great, as they sound the same when they were travelling together in the TARDIS without Tegan.
Janet Fielding also gets to shine as Tegan. She shares some scenes with the Doctor in the catacombs and I liked how outspoken she is when trying to save people’s lives. I liked how Tegan is being developed in these audios and that she isn’t always aggressive as she tends to be from the TV series.
Peter Davison also shines as the Doctor. The Doctor is really concerned when Turlough is kidnapped and I liked how he, Nyssa and Tegan go to rescue him. I liked that scene when Peter’s Doctor gets infected by the Morass. He pushes Nyssa away when he’s taken over and she refuses to leave him.
Michael Maloney guest stars as Rennol, one of Turlough’s captors. Michael has done some Big Finish audios for ‘Doctor Who’ and I’ve seen him in an episode of ‘Monarch of the Glen’. Rennol wants to have the treasure from the palace vaults and forces Turlough and Deela to kiss each other to open it.
This story also guest stars Lizzie Roper as Hoss and John Banks as Kanch. Hoss and Kanch are hostile characters working for Rennol and they’re the ones who kidnap Turlough and Deela when they’re on Vektrix. It was very interesting how they behave in this story when kidnapping Turlough and Deela.
The monster in this story is the alien Morrass (voiced by John Banks). This is a sentient security system inhabiting deep within the icy world and was in the form a formless fleshy body. I must admit I found the Morass disappointing and I didn’t understand half of what it was saying most of the time.
I found it pretty terrifying when the Morass could create and replicate versions of Nyssa. Nyssa kept re-appearing and repeating familiar lines over again. I wondered whether the real Nyssa would appear, as the Morass-created versions of Nyssa kept getting killed off and reappearing all the time.
It was a shock (as it was for Turlough) when Deela betrayed him and was actually in love with Rennol instead. This hurts Turlough badly and I wondered why Deela would betray him like that. Eventually Deela gets killed and this upsets Turlough more. It was a tragic way to end a love story for Turlough.
I liked that last scene between Nyssa and Turlough. Nyssa comforts Turlough and shares about her family when he’s feeling dejected and mourns Deela’s death. Despite Turlough’s claims that he won’t share with anyone ever again, Nyssa promises not to tell the Doctor about his past until he is ready.
‘Kiss of Death’ is an interesting adventure exploring more of Turlough’s past. I enjoyed listening to this adventure and Mark Strickson gives an excellent performance as Turlough. I do like it when Big Finish looks after the regular characters in ‘Doctor Who’ and they develop them in interesting ways.
The CD extras are as follows. At the end of Disc 1, there are two tracks of incidental music to enjoy. At the end of Disc 2, there are behind-the-scenes interviews with the cast and crew including Mark Strickson; Sarah Sutton; Janet Fielding; script editor Alan Barnes; director Ken Bentley; etc.
If you subscribe to Big Finish for ‘Kiss of Death’ via a 6 or 12 CD/Download subscription, you’ll get the following extras. There is a PDF script and extended extras of ‘Kiss of Death’.
There’s a trailer for the next story with the Doctor, Tegan; Turlough and Nyssa called ‘Rat Trap’.
‘Kiss of Death’ rating – 7/10
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