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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Feast of Axos


Starring: Colin Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 544 0
Available 28 February 2011

Axos calling Earth. Fuel system exhausted. Request immediate assistance.” Many years ago, the vast space parasite Axos attempted to drain the planet Earth of its energy. Now it’s all but forgotten: a dried-up husk, marooned in orbit, still stuck in the time loop in which it was placed by Earth’s defender, the Doctor. Forgotten, that is, except by space tourism billionaire Campbell Irons, who’s hatched a plan to solve the world’s energy crisis by reviving Axos and transmitting its power back to Earth. However, the crew of the spaceship Windermere aren’t alone aboard the parasite. The Doctor has returned, to correct an error of decades past - and Axos is waiting...

Though it too features the return of familiar characters and concepts, The Feast of Axos is a little less effective than last month’s The Crimes of Thomas Brewster.

Obviously, this is a sequel to the Jon Pertwee serial The Claws of Axos. As usual, Big Finish (specifically sound designer Jamie Robertson) accurately recreates the sounds of a previous era: the sinister thrums and whooshes of the interior of Axos. Fortunately, Bernard Holley, the original voice of Axos, was available to reprise the role. As is remarked upon in the 15 minutes of interviews at the end of Disc Two, Holley’s distinctive, booming tones sound exactly the same as they did back in 1971. Meanwhile, Colin Baker enjoys a dual role as the Sixth Doctor and an Axon duplicate - his curly hair makes him an ideal candidate for “Axonisation” on the front cover!

Writer Mike Maddox also throws in references to the British space programme depicted in The Ambassadors of Death, The Android Invasion and The Quatermass Experiment (the latter of which is referenced in Remembrance of the Daleks). His original intention had also been for the character of Joanna Slade (Andree Bernard) to be the daughter of Guy Crayford from The Android Invasion, as is revealed during the interviews, but fortunately the production team stops short of that, as it would rather have over-egged the pudding.

Where The Feast of Axos stumbles slightly is with its dialogue. The trio of the Sixth Doctor, Evelyn Smythe (Maggie Stables) and Thomas Brewster (John Pickard) don’t spark off one another as naturally as they did during Jonathan Morris’s Crimes of Thomas Brewster. Without giving too much away, developments regarding Brewster’s character are undermined by the fact that we know this is only the middle part of a trilogy and that he will be around for the third one. There are a number of occasions when characters, especially the Doctor, describe their surroundings for no apparent reason other than to inform we the listeners, and the cumbersome phrase “access to Axos” is reiterated several times.

Despite a few hitches in the presentation, there’s still plenty to enjoy in this Feast. The double CD also includes nine minutes of Jamie Robertson’s music.


Richard McGinlay

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