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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Zygon Who Fell to Earth


Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £10.99 (CD), £8.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 309 5
Available 30 June 2008

“There are no monsters this time... are there?” Ten years after she first met Lucie and the Doctor, Aunty Pat is in her prime. She’s snagged herself an ex-rock star at the Kendal Folk Festival and now, in the brave new world of the early 1980s, they manage a snazzy hotel on the poetic and shingly shore of Grasmere in the Lake District. However, still waters run deep and friends from the past are returning, intent on milking the old cash-cow...

With this sequel to last year’s Horror of Glam Rock, writer Paul Magrs subscribes to the Life on Mars / Ashes to Ashes school of nostalgic follow-ups, for whereas Glam Rock dealt with the ’70s, The Zygon Who Fell to Earth takes place in the ’80s. It’s even got a Bowie-inspired title!

As you might expect, Magrs doesn’t take his monsters too seriously. One of the Zygons, Mims (Tim Brooke-Taylor), exhibits a decidedly homosexual attraction for his single-minded boss, Urtak (Malcolm Stoddard) - though perhaps we shouldn’t be too surprised by this, since Mark Morris claimed that the Zygons are hermaphrodites in his Eighth Doctor novel The Bodysnatchers (the events of which are briefly referred to here). Later, Lucie’s (Sheridan Smith) reaction to the Zygons’ feeding habits encapsulates the innate grossness of living off a Skarasen’s lactic secretions.

But it’s not all fun and games. Before the play is over, the Doctor (Paul McGann) is complicit in a deception that many will find shocking.

Lynsey Hardwick is perfectly cast as Aunty Pat. She sounds so much like a relative of Lucie that sometimes I had trouble telling her and Smith apart.

However, that’s my only real criticism of this production, apart from the fact that it’s just a little unfortunate that we’ve had humanised monsters in two stories so far this season (this one and Brave New Town). Hopefully Morbius will be nothing less than his evil old self when he returns in a couple of discs time...

The extras at the end of the CD reveal, among other things, that there’s more to guest star Steven Pacey (who plays Pat’s partner Trevor) than Tarrant on Blake’s 7. He also has a musical background, thus allowing him to perform the song “Falling Star” (composed by Tim Sutton with lyrics by director Barnaby Edwards).

I suppose we should be grateful that we’ve moved on from the glam rock period, otherwise the song might have sounded something like this: “Skarasen, Skarasen, will you do the fandango...”


Richard McGinlay

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