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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
War Against the Laan


Starring: Tom Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 78178 056 5
Available 31 March 2013

Just a taste of Armageddon, Romana. It’s what happens when acquisitive minds are left unencumbered by conscience.” The Doctor, Romana and newly elected President Sheridan Moorkurk take on the all-consuming powers of business tycoon Cuthbert and his vast Conglomerate. But the situation goes beyond a struggle for political power – Cuthbert is intent on revenge upon the Laan. But when his vengeance looks like leading to an inter-species war, the Doctor knows the stakes couldn’t be higher. Is it too late to prevent the destruction of all life on Earth...?

Warning: despite having a different title from last month’s The Sands of Life, War Against the Laan is actually a direct continuation of what amounts in total to a five-part story, of which this disc contains episodes four and five. Be sure to listen to The Sands of Life first!

Actually, even after this CD has concluded, there are still a few loose ends to be tidied up, and Cuthbert (David Warner) and Mr Dorrick (Toby Hadoke) are set to return later in the season. I’m sure Graham Williams, the producer during Mary Tamm’s year on the television show, would approve of writer / director Nicholas Briggs building in such story arcs, as he felt that the Doctor’s adventures were often lacking in purpose and consequence – one of the main reasons why he created the Key to Time season. That era is also conjured up by the fact that K-9 is once again out of action after making a brief appearance in The Sands of Life, and Hadoke channels his inner Mr Fibuli as Mr Dorrick, as he explains in interviews at the end of the disc.

Meanwhile, Warner plays a refreshingly plain-speaking villain in his role as Cuthbert. This character and the powerful Conglomerate he represents were originally created by Briggs (writing as Arthur Wallis) for the fan-produced Audio Visuals range in the 1980s. You don’t need to know that in order to follow this story, though it possibly explains why the temporally confused Doctor seems to be vaguely familiar with Cuthbert and his business empire thanks to “memories” that could be from his own future.

The Time Lord’s solution to the conflict is a bit of an anti-climax following all the dramatic build-up – quite a small finish to a big story – but the stirring sounds of the Laan (Jane Slavin) remain striking and potent, so I’ve nothing against War Against the Laan.


Richard McGinlay

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