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David Warner guests with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm in The Sands of Life

Reviewed: The Sands of Life

When the Doctor, Romana and K9 encounter some very serious time phasing in the vortex (leading to some fanboy pleasing moments) they find themselves hot on the trail of some seven and a half billion life forms that have made contact with Romana uttering the mysterious phrase ‘the sands of life’. With the Doctor suitably intrigued, they follow the trail of the creatures all the way to Earth.

David Warner guests with Tom Baker and Mary Tamm in The Sands of Life

But the TARDIS crew aren’t the only ones that are following the creatures, the CEO of the Conglomerate, Cuthbert, has recently had one of his space stations destroyed by the mysterious beings and is keen to not only convince the new President of Earth that they pose a clear and present danger but to also settle the score.

Because as you listen to The Sands of Life, you’ll realise that Cuthbert is as slimy, spiteful and nasty as terrible Doctor Who villains come. He’s an opportunist with a typical inferiority complex that he turns into a superiority complex and one that once he encounters the Doctor, has to prove his worth. David Warner oozes a capable charm when he needs to that he can instantly switch to an aggressive threatening manner whenever he needs to get ahead. He’s a typical nasty businessman that’s used to getting his way, an archetypal head honcho that the Fourth Doctor is so used to taking down. But Cuthbert is clever and uses Romana as leverage to get the Doctor to help him; he wants to come out on top and that way of thinking may well lead to the end of the Earth.

To say that this is Nicholas Brigg’s best script may be more of a personal statement from this reviewer rather than something that all will agree with but one you’ve listened to it, there’s no denying that he’s hit the Fourth Doctor Adventures proverbial nail on its proverbial head. The dialogue is punchy and engaging, the plot is big with a capital B, the reintroduction of K9 is perfectly handled and the sense of fun that The Sands of Life carries with it will bring a Season 16 smile to your face. Even better, just when you think that you’re coming to the end of the tale during the closing moments of part two, there’s a whole extra episode for you to enjoy!

For a ‘first part’ of a two part tale, The Sands of Life offers more fun than you could shake an electronic stick at and starts to set up story arcs that will play out for the rest of the series and will certainly bring you back for more.

The Sands of Life is available from www.bigfinish.com now.


What happens when an eight year old kid watches the 1993 repeat run of Planet of the Daleks? He pretty much ends up here writing about the show that grabbed hold of him and never let go!

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