This months Big Finish Doctor Who Lost Stories is the best yet. Can I say that in a review? Sure I can, itâ€™s my review!
Paradise 5 was originally planned for The Trial of a Time Lord season and was to have featured Mel as the companion, but for unknown reasons it never happened. At the time writer PJ Hammond (Sapphire & Steel, Midsomer Murders) had only completed episode one â€“ which became episode two on the audio release â€“ part of one other episode and then the basics story outline. So when it came time to revive the story in audio form, Big Finish not only needed to adapt the script for audio, they needed to finish the script.
Due to PJ Hammond being a rather busy writer these days (you may know his work on such recent series as Torchwood) Big Finish got permission to bring in a writer to help finish the script. PJ agreed and Andy Lane (A Thousand Tiny Wings) was the chosen one. Mr. Lane seems to have been the perfect choice, working off of Hammond’s original notes, he not only completed the story but he also wrote a completely new episode one. A fact I did not know until after I finished the story and I can honestly say you can not tell.
Since the story was originally part of The Trial of a Time Lord season a new episode one was necessary as the story was book ended with trial scenes. And as mentioned above, Mel had to be written out and Peri put in her place. Perhaps these changes are what makes this story work so well for me. We are not exactly hearing a 100% 80â€™s script, so we get some more modern story telling and modern characterizations.
Nicola Bryant is given some proper material to play with as an actress and some great character developments in Periâ€™s life. The interactions between the Doctor and Per also seem less aggressive than the previous stories, which hopefully marks start of the changes in personalities we saw in Colin and Nicolaâ€™s first and second TV seasons. If this is the case than that is a welcome touch to the Lost Stories as they will nicely bridge that character gap we saw on TV.
When listening to the story I was struck but how easily it could have slotted into a season of the new series (that is if it were Earth bound) as the story holds up in todayâ€™s world. That could be due to Andy Lane again though as he made some changes to the aliens intentions to modernize the story. But overall the characters and their motives and interpretations would match anything the new series has given us.
Colin Baker clearly enjoyed himself with this story as well. It allowed his Doctor to come up with a plan and operate behind the scenes rather than just blundering into an accidental adventure. If only this is the Doctor they allowed us to have on TV, Colin might just have beat Tom bakerâ€™s record.
All in all, the lost stories have been a joy to hear. To have this lost piece of history brought back to us in any form is a great pleaser to behold. And while I may have commented that they hold up to “New Series” story telling, they still hold true to their 1980â€™s roots in that they Big Finish team have decided to use 80â€™s sound effects and similar sounding music scores to add to that eraâ€™s feel. Director Barnaby Edwards delivered a fantastic tale this month and really got the best out of each and every actor involved. Do yourself a favor and pick up this treat and enjoy a piece of history.