Professor Bernice Summerfield and the Dance of the Dead

Starring: Lisa Bowerman
Big Finish Productions
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 903654 79 3, BFPCD14
Available now

Trapped aboard a crippled space cruiser, Benny teams up with a pair of Ice Warriors and a laconic steward to find a way off the wreck before it disintegrates completely. But infectious memories from a couple of dead aliens don't make the task any easier...

A word of warning: don't get too excited about the presence of Martians on the front cover of this CD. For the most part, Grand Marshal Sstac (Matthew Brenher) and General Azzar (Vivien Parry) might as well have been members of any old honourable alien species. There are no sonic weapons to be heard, and precious little of the Ice Warriors' trademark hissing voices (we must assume that the atmosphere on board the space cruiser is comparable to that of New Mars, hence their lack of breathing difficulties).

Nevertheless the use of the Martians, one of Benny's favourite races, does cut a few handy corners in terms of storytelling. Writer Stephen Cole effectively saves time setting up the character of Sstac, which would have taken longer if using an unfamiliar species, before Sstac and Bernice (Lisa Bowerman) fall foul of mind-altering memories and emotions. The two players turn in powerful dual performances as their characters find themselves re-enacting the turbulent experiences of an alien ambassador and his wife.

Also of note is a brilliant impersonation of Katy Manning's Iris Wildthyme, courtesy of Francis Magee as the steward Karter, who explains to a hung-over Benny how Iris managed to secrete her on board the space cruiser.

This is not the exciting Ice Warrior adventure I had been expecting, but it's entertaining enough.

Richard McGinlay