Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Jupiter Conjunction


Starring: Peter Davison
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 628 7
Available 31 May 2012

Eight slash Q Panenka, a craggy comet with a 13km circumference, has an elliptical orbit that takes it between Earth and Jupiter. In the year 2329, this makes it a cheap means of space freight - the second-class postal service of the solar system. But when the TARDIS lands on Panenka, the crew discover a community falling apart at the seams - plagued by thefts, and mysterious disappearances among the “piggybackers” who eke out a desperate existence on the comet. While Tegan and Nyssa suit up for a dangerous excursion into the Unstable Zone, the Doctor and Turlough find themselves pawns in a game that could lead to tragedy for Earth and Jupiter alike...

Big Finish’s third trilogy of stories featuring the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), Tegan (Janet Fielding), Turlough (Mark Strickson) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), is taking on a similar shape to its first one in terms of audience appeal. Both trilogies kick off with an action-packed opener (respectively Cobwebs and The Emerald Tiger) and end with the return of a popular villain courtesy of writer Marc Platt (respectively the Mara in The Cradle of the Snake and Magnus Greel in The Butcher of Brisbane). The story in the middle (respectively The Whispering Forest and this one) is left with the unenviable task of filling the gap between such attention-grabbing bookends.

Fortunately, The Jupiter Conjunction does quite well in the attention-grabbing department itself. Its first episode is immediately impressive, with an opening scene set on the comet’s barren surface that is full of Waters of Mars-type fear. This is followed by an absolutely splendid TARDIS scene that really captures the appeal of the Davison era. “Where are we landing?” asks Nyssa. “On a comet,” replies Turlough, sounding none too pleased about it. “Why?” asks Nyssa, always with the questions. “Because we can!” cries the Doctor, full of joie de vivre. Cool concepts in Eddie Robson’s script include the commercial community that has developed on the isolated lump of ice (you know where to come... comet) and a neural scrambler that brings unprotected humans to a halt - which is useful for robbing said commercial community.

Like the Wild West, the law is swift and ruthless out here, and during Part Two, Turlough is suitably cunning and duplicitous in order to save his own neck. Has he really betrayed the Doctor? Hardcore Who fans won’t be taken in (thanks to the old “reset button” of licensed fiction - more on that in a moment), but if you were listening to this adventure without knowledge of the television stories it precedes, you might be fooled. Meanwhile, Tegan encounters some beings with very unnerving voices (provided by Philip Pope and some effective post-production).

Unfortunately, my attention wandered during the latter half of this four-part serial. For me, the human political conflict that is revealed is not as interesting as the mystery of the creepy aliens - it seems somewhat mundane compared with the earlier intrigue. Guest star Rebecca Front is rather wasted as administrator Patricia Walton.

Things pick up towards the end, though, as Nyssa is placed in real danger. It’s worth remembering that this companion isn’t protected by the same “reset button” as her friends, because her reintroduction into the TARDIS crew is Big Finish’s own invention. She doesn’t have any television stories that take place chronologically later than this one. She could die - like Adric, who gets a name check to remind us. As if to drive the point home, Nyssa isn’t actually pictured on the front cover of the next release, The Butcher of Brisbane...

Following its initial impact, The Jupiter Conjunction wobbles a little uncertainly in its orbit, but it manages not to come crashing down.


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.

£11.39 (
£8.72 (
£11.39 (

All prices correct at time of going to press.