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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Lost Stories
The Macros


Starring: Colin Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 451 1
Available 30 June 2010

The TARDIS materialises on the USS Eldridge, after the Philadelphia Experiment has gone disastrously wrong. Most of the crew are dead, the ship is disintegrating, and the Doctor soon realises that the problem comes from another dimension. As they attempt to find a way to get the ship home, the Doctor and Peri visit the planet Capron and meet its tyrannical ruler, Osloo. But the search for a possible solution only creates increasingly dire problems. Osloo’s horizons have been widened - and space and time are hers for the taking...

In common with another recent Sixth Doctor audio drama, The Wreck of the Titan, this Lost Story involves an infamous maritime disaster. However, on this occasion there’s also a touch of The X-Files to the tale, as the mysterious Philadelphia Experiment is brought into the Doctor Who universe. American accents abound, and Richard Fox and Lauren Yason’s incidental music has a distinct flavour of Mark Snow.

However, time-warping conspiracy theory is only half the story, as a parallel plot strand concerns a typical Doctor Who futuristic alien dictatorship, complete with bizarre names such as Ezz (Jack Galagher), Yka (Rachael Elizabeth) and the particularly strange Bundth (Matt Addis). The two plotlines don’t really gel stylistically - though it’s easy to imagine Ingrid Pitt (The Time Monster, Warriors of the Deep), who co-wrote the script with her husband Tony Rudlin, in the role of OTT evil matriarch Osloo (played here by Linda Marlowe).

In his sleeve notes, producer/script editor David Richardson states that the reason why Pitt and Rudlin’s script was rejected by the television production team remains (if you’ll excuse the paranormal terminology) unexplained. However, I wonder whether it might have had something to do with the ways in which this story clashes with the TV show’s established mythology. The theory of macro and micro universes detailed here is not consistent with other parallel and alternate universes depicted in Who (with the notable exception of the pin galaxies mentioned in The Two Doctors), and the Doctor (Colin Baker) actively interferes with the course of established history (though the Time Lord clearly explains that these are exceptional circumstances).

Perhaps more remarkable is the difference in the relationship between the Doctor and Peri (Nicola Bryant). In contrast with the whining and bickering of Seasons 21 and 22, here Peri enjoys travelling in the TARDIS and has a deep respect for the Doctor. Evidently their rapport has improved since earlier stories - though this could be a side effect of the script having been rewritten from memory following a disastrous computer crash (which is discussed during the half hour of CD extras).

The Macros is a mixed bag, but it’s certainly less soggy than the sea beast Ingrid pitted herself against in Warriors of the Deep.


Richard McGinlay

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