Click here to return to the main site.

Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
Eldrad Must Die!


Starring: Peter Davison

Publisher: Big Finish Productions

RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)

ISBN: 978 1 78178 072 5

Release Date: 30 April 2013

A Doctor, curse his name, threw me down among the dead… but I endure. I am Eldrad… and I must live!” A nuclear icebreaker, foundering in Arctic waters; seabirds washed up in the fishing resort of Ambermouth, their wings encrusted with crystals; a shining artefact of uncertain provenance, up for sale on an auction site – all of these things are linked, as the Doctor, Nyssa, Tegan and Turlough are about to discover. They are linked to the rebirth of a genocidal tyrant, presumed dead many years ago. For the sake of the planets Earth and Kastria alike, Eldrad must die…!

Once again the Fifth Doctor (Peter Davison), Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Turlough (Mark Strickson) run into an old foe from the Fourth Doctor’s era. The last time it was Magnus Greel in The Butcher of Brisbane. This time it’s Eldrad… who must die. I, for one, am delighted to have a sequel to The Hand of Fear, a story that has a special place in my heart as the source of some of my earliest Doctor Who memories. I don’t think there has ever been a follow-up to that story before, in any media, which makes it all the more welcome.

Once again, the writer bringing back the old enemy is Marc Platt. He fully exploits the concept’s potential, including the catch phrase “Eldrad must live” and variations upon it, the Kastrians’ variable gender, and the fact that if an entire version of Eldrad (played by original shouty bloke Stephen Thorne) could be reconstituted from just his hand, then surely other fragments of this silicon-based creature could give rise to other clones. The writer takes things further still, depicting (with help from sound designer Wilfredo Acosta) a colonising encroachment of Kastrian crystals that can alter people, animals and even the sea itself.

Platt also develops the back story of Turlough, building upon what we learned in Kiss of Death, and blending this with elements from his television debut Mawdryn Undead in some surreal dream sequences involving members of the regular cast in Wizard of Oz-style dual roles.

Poor Turlough – he doesn’t have much luck with crystals, does he? There is some unfortunate repetition of Season 20 here, with the lad falling prey to crystal-based mind control once again. Another nit I have to pick is that in The Hand of Fear the Fourth Doctor returned Eldrad to Kastria in the then present day, so the villain has been stranded there for a few decades at the most, not for thousands or millions of years as suggested here.

In all other respects, though, Eldrad Must Die! is a splendidly realised bit of nostalgia. I may be biased, but I think it’s a real gem.


Richard McGinlay

Buy this item online

Each of the store links below opens in a new window, allowing you to compare the price of this product from various online stores.