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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 394 1
Available 30 April 2009

Somewhere in the south of England stands the Hothouse, five vast, state-of-the-art bio-domes, all steel and glass. Inside, rock star turned environmental activist Alex Marlow has a plan to save the world from climate change - by any means necessary. There’s something growing inside the Hothouse, something that could turn back humanity’s tide: a voracious alien vegetable called the Krynoid. The Doctor is going to have to stop it, stop Marlow, stop Marlow’s fanatical acolyte, Lucie Miller, and save the world - by any means necessary...

As usual, Big Finish has some old enemies lined up for the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) and Lucie Miller’s (Sheridan Smith) latest season of adventures. The first of these is the Krynoids, introduced in the 1976 serial The Seeds of Doom. Writer Jonathan Morris ticks all the boxes in terms of recapturing the appeal of that classic Tom Baker story, not only bringing back the vegetable menace of the Krynoids, but also the World Ecology Bureau, and there’s another wealthy maniac (or “environ mentalist”, as Lucie puts it) in the form of Alex Marlow.

The latter is played, with tongue noticeably in cheek (especially when he threatens to make another character “go green”), by Nigel Planer. Marlow is a kind of sinister Sting or Bono - and appropriately enough, Planer, as Neil from The Young Ones, enjoyed a degree of pop success himself in the 1980s, with cover versions of “Hole in My Shoe” and “Living Doll”. Lysette Anthony also guest stars.

Despite lines of dialogue such as those mentioned above, this story is far less comical than it could have been, as Morris describes in his sleeve notes and in an interview at the end of the disc. Indeed, there are some particularly grim sequences here, as people are heard transforming agonisingly into plants.

The resolution of Part 2 of this two-part story (complete on one CD) is not as effective as the build-up to the cliffhanger that ends Part 1. Nevertheless, the environmental angle is as pertinent today, if not more so, as it was in 1976.


Richard McGinlay

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