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Audio Drama Review


Doctor Who
The Raincloud Man


Starring: Colin Baker
Big Finish Productions
RRP: £14.99 (CD), £12.99 (download)
ISBN: 978 1 84435 325 5
Available 30 December 2008

Having just defeated the Krotons, the Doctor is treating Charley to a hearty English breakfast, when an intriguing mystery suddenly presents itself. In order to solve it, they must plunge back into the criminal underbelly of Manchester, where an old friend is up to her neck in alien trouble. But what seemed like a mere mystery ends up being a life or death struggle at the centre of an interplanetary war, in which the stakes are so high that the Doctor or Charley must gamble with their very identities. And throughout, the lone figure of the Raincloud Man may hold the key to success or failure...

This double CD marks the return of no-nonsense Mancunian DI Patricia Menzies (Anna Hope of Novice Hame fame) from The Condemned. It’s great to have her back - though, as Hope reveals in the interviews at the end of each disc, she did have some difficulty re-creating Menzies’s rather gruff voice, as the actress had a cold last time!

It may seem a bit soon in the grand scheme of all things Who for the character to be making this return appearance. Though The Condemned was released almost a year ago, the Sixth Doctor (Colin Baker) and Charley (India Fisher) have starred in just two monthly releases in between. However, the events of the special release The Return of the Krotons (issued free to Big Finish customers whose subscriptions include The Raincloud Man) occur just before this adventure, as the opening dialogue and the back-cover blurb are at pains to point out. That brings the total number of stories up to three, a similar gap, in terms of episode numbers, to the one between Edward Travers’s two appearances in the Yeti serials in the 1960s. So that’s alright then!

As with The Condemned, Eddie Robson’s script keeps the listener guessing and requires close attention. In fact, there’s one bit early on in the story that I don’t think is meant to be as perplexing as I found it - I got confused as to which character had died and which one had escaped from DI Menzies’s squad. In general, though, I found this production easier to follow than The Condemned.

The nature of the Raincloud Man of the title may not be what you are expecting. He is connected with a high-stakes gambling operation - at which the Doctor makes an amusing choice of game towards the climax of the tale.

During the interviews, Colin Baker discusses, among other things, the various companions with whom his Doctor has travelled. He gets understandably confused about the exact sequence of them and doesn’t quite get it right. If you’re reading this, Colin, the correct order is: Peri, Mel (just for The Trial of a Time Lord, before she’s returned to her own time), Evelyn, then Mel again.

Come rain or shine, The Raincloud Man is a safe bet for a good listen.


Richard McGinlay

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