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Published on November 18th, 2009 | by Brian A Terranova

The Nightmare Fair

Lost Doctor Who is a sad thing no matter how you cut it. But in the case of all the lost adventures from the 60’s, they still survive as in audio form, thanks to dedicated fans. Now these Lost Stories are no longer a mystery to those who never saw them before.

Now, thanks to the dedicated fans in the ranks of Big Finish Productions, more Lost Stories can now be heard!

The Nightmare FairBig Finish brings us 8 brand new lost adventures of the Sixth Doctor and Peri. A mixed bag of stories specifically written for the Lost Season 23 and other that have been around since the Tom Baker era as well as one or two that never made it into pre-production.

The first in this eight-story season is The Nightmare Fair. Originally written by former Doctor Who producer, Graham Williams and adapted for audio and directed by John Ainsworth.

The Nightmare Fair could very well be the most talked about Lost Story from Colin Baker’s era. Not least because it marks the first return of the fan favorite character The Celestial Toymaker, but also because it is well known that at the end of Revelation of the Daleks, the Doctor decides to take Peri to Blackpool. However do to the show’s hiatus, this scene was edited and the idea was lost. Although the story had been adapted in book for before the audio, this is the first time fans can hear Colin baker and Nycola Bryant perform these scenes as they should have back in the 80’s.

For the Big Finish Production team, Nycola Bryant and in a bigger way Colin Baker, The Nightmare Fair is a step down. That isn’t to say it’s not a good story, but more so it is a step in the wrong direction from the characters, as the Sixth Doctor has grown so much in the audios. He developed into an extremely likeable and more mellowed Doctor. Something Colin had wished to do in the series when he was originally cast.

Storywise as well, it feels a bit slimmer in content. With Big Finish the story are always more grand and involved. But this is one of the attractions to The Nightmare Fair. Aside from hearing a bit of lost history, we get to see what an 80’s story could have been like with proper attention given to it in the filming process. The actors involved in the Big Finish play are all top notch, with  thankfully no low budget sets and costumes to make them think they needed to ham it up.

Particular mention should go to David Bailie who, I must say, at times had me convinced that he was Michael Gough while playing his scene as the Celestial Toymaker. Which is amazing, as he didn’t watch any of the original serial to get into character. Thankfully he didn’t try to play the part as Michael did though. David made it his own, but somehow the character must have spoke to them in the same way at time. It was sort of magical.

On one hand the story feels like the old day, with Colin and Nycola doing their best to find even ground playing their characters at a between point in their characters development and story content wise. While on the other hand the production makes it feel new and fresh. No matter how you look at it though, the story works, it would have worked well on our TV screens if they went ahead with this original version of season 23 all those years ago and it certainly works now.

It must be hard work adapting a story made for TV into audio form without changing the dialogue to drastically, or in many cases adding in more dialogue, but at the same time it must have been very rewarding. While it was not his idea solely, it must be very satisfying to be the team that gave Colin baker the chance to finish his unfinished business.

If you were thinking about picking up a Lost Story to see what all the commotion is about, then you need not look any further than The Nightmare Fair.

Out on CD and MP3 download, The Nightmare Fair is available now from www.bigfinish.com!

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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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