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Published on April 15th, 2009 | by Brian A Terranova

The Beast of Orlok

And now, it seems, the Beast has returned. As the killings begin again, the people of Orlok are understandably suspicious of two strangers newly arrived in their midst. The Doctor and Lucie must face their darkest fears as they find themselves plunged into a decidedly grim fairytale.

After the last two adventures of the 3rd Series of Eighth Doctor and Lucie adventures, it seems that the Doctor and Lucie are finally off for a bit of fun. Landing in Germany in the town of Orlok during the year 1827, they find anything but fun.

Writer Barnaby Edwards really steps up the game with The Beast of Orlok in a story that has many interesting twists and turns. I would not be surprised to see this story adapted for TV Who one day to be honest. There is a perfect blend of comedy with the scares and action/adventure. Not enough to have too much fun dulling the adventure, but just enough to make it gripping.

The town’s folk of Orlok have a legend, they say that there is a beast that lurks in the woods slaying all who enter, but this beast has been dormant for 20 years, why now has it come back? There are those who will tell you that it never really existed, but how can they explain it’s latest victims?

Really this story has it all, we’ve got the classic “wrong place / wrong time” situation that ends up being a spot that the Doctor just can’t leave, not now, not while it’s getting fun. There is a mystery that you can’t help but get dragged into trying to piece it all together for your self, but then we aren’t alone are we? The Doctor and Lucie are the detectives here and we learn through them.

Sheridan Smith seems to have found a nice level playing ground for the character of Lucie and one that also allowed her to grow into quite the skilled companion. Lucie’s mellowed a bit and cut back on a lot of her snippy comments. That is not a criticism of the character or the portrayal though, more so it is a realization that the character has matured to the point that her quips and comments are no longer a defense mechanism. That said, she is not 100% devoid of them, but they are much more enjoyable now then before.

The casting of this story also was very well done, as each and every character plays their part as if they lived this adventure themselves. Perhaps everyone stepped up their game due to having such talent as Miriam Margolyes – of Harry Potter fame – in the cast as Frau Tod, or maybe it was all in the writing. One thing is for sure the choice to not have the actors play the part with a faux German accent was a very wise choice.

Accents in TV shows and Movies, and more so in radio dramas are a tricky thing as actors will either hit the mark brilliantly or go a bit over the top. If you don’t get it right then people talk about the accents after seeing or hearing the feature, which means that if they are doing this, then they aren’t talking about the story.

With no accents to distract you from The Beast of Orlok, it’s very easy to see that a new classic has just been born. Interestingly enough, we get not one but two legends or myths explained in this adventure; well, explained in that “fun sci-fi” way of course.

But this adventure isn’t about the myths and legends – Barnaby Edwards takes us on the perfect adventure, a great way in to the Big Finish plays if you’ve not already dipped your toe in the water.

So what are you waiting for?

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About the Author

Doctor Who and me go way back. I first discovered it on my local PBS Station WHYY in the suburbs outside Philadelphia when I was a young kid; though I am uncertain of the exact age.




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