Itâ€™s funny that although this is the first in a new trilogy of audios for the Seventh Doctor and his friends, it feels like the end of a very large story arc rather than the beginning of a new one. Thatâ€™s also because it is.
Project: Destiny completes the â€œForgeâ€ trilogy that has been running over the last decade of Big Finishâ€™s plays with style, dignity and a few twists and turns along the way. Whilst itâ€™s the end of an era, the play is set before the Seventh Doctorâ€™s final showdown with Nimrod and his goonies in Project: Lazarus, which although may have been confusing handled by another write, works brilliantly when handled by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright.
But forget the entire back story for one moment. How does the play stand-up on its own two feet? Carrying straight on from their last adventure, The Angel of Scutari, the Doctor and Ace are back in London and trying to desperately save Hexâ€™s life. You need to know nothing about the plot from the previous play as this is fairly self explanatory and this clever writing occurs many times, giving the listener enough information to know the back story of important characters whilst never slowing the plot down for this, their main story. New characters introduced in Project: Destiny are interesting and accessible while returning villain Nimrod is instantly dislikeable and oozes contempt and malice.
The apocalyptic and deserted London that the TARDIS crew arrive in is wonderfully familiar and evokes some of the better remembered Doctor Who iconography from TV stories such as The Dalek Invasion of Earth, The Invasion and even Episode one of Invasion of the Dinosaurs. Without quite so many people whizzing about, we have time to get to know our protagonists and their goals be they good or bad.
Itâ€™s not a great surprise to regular Big Finish listeners (or readers of Doctor Who Magazine) that this is Philip Oliverâ€™s last play as scouse Nurse Hex. And what an exit he gets, revelations and tough choices await the boy in Project: Destiny and by the end, you feel like heâ€™s been through the emotional wringer. Will he be back? To make an ill advised pun, Who knowsâ€¦?
Project: Destiny is an intelligent, sensitive and, quite frankly, excellent play from the Big Finish team. The writers have stated that this is the last weâ€™ve seen of Nimrod and the Forge but hopefully theyâ€™ll be back.
When you have villains this good you just canâ€™t let them go.
Available now from Big Finish, Project: Destiny can be purchased on CD or MP3