Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Lost Stories


Starring: Sylvester McCoy
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 492 4
Available 30 June 2011

Margrave University in 2001, and Raine Creevy is enjoying her first trip to the future in the TARDIS. For the Doctor, there are mysteries to solve. What are the alien creatures imprisoned in the science labs? And what are the true motives of the student Scobie and his followers? Raine and Ace must go undercover to find out. With enemies on all sides, the Doctor teams up with his old friend Brigadier Winifred Bambera and the forces of UNIT in a battle for the future of the whole world...

This third entry into the “Season 27” Lost Stories builds upon script editor / writer Andrew Cartmel’s development of a recurring cast of supporting characters for the Seventh Doctor (Sylvester McCoy). Animal marks the return of Angela Bruce as Brigadier Bambera, who was introduced in Battlefield, seemingly as an intended successor to Nicholas Courtney’s Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart, but never had a chance to reprise the role... until now.

Despite her presence, I found the first couple of episodes uninvolving. This is partly because certain aspects of the story don’t lend themselves too well to audio, such as characters describing Triffid-like flesh-eating plants advancing upon them. The deadpan nature of Brigadier Bambera and some rather two-dimensional guest characters don’t help either - what was UNIT thinking of hiring such a trigger-happy thug as Sgt. Achterberg (John Banks)?

Evidently it is “animal rights month” at Big Finish Productions. In common with the Fifth Doctor adventure Rat Trap, this audio drama features a laboratory setting and deals with the welfare of our furry friends - a familiar topic for Cartmel, as he admits during the half-hour of CD extras.

Things get more interesting during the final two episodes, thanks to some intriguing arrivals, who (through a more satisfying deployment of Banks’s vocal dexterity) successfully combine amusement and menace. I wonder whether the writer was staring at his keyboard, specifically the Num Lock key, when he came up with their name...

Cartmel and McCoy give us a more light-hearted, bumbling Seventh Doctor than we’ve become used to, more like the Season 24 version than the sinister manipulator of Seasons 25 and 26 and The New Adventures. His schemes don’t always work out, and there’s an amusing scene (“oh dear”) in which he tries to defuse a bomb. Meanwhile, Ace (Sophie Aldred) and Raine (Beth Chalmers) continue to make an interesting team, playfully sniping at each other’s class differences, but are also effective when split up on separate assignments.

Animal is my least favourite story of this lost season so far, but it’s worth catching and devouring for the last couple of episodes alone. That’s the nature of the beast.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

We compare prices online so you get the cheapest deal
Click on the logo of the desired store below to purchase this item.

£10.46 (
£10.49 (
£14.99 (
£10.49 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.