Soldiers of Love
Part Nine - Breaking Loose

Starring: Nicholas Courtney, Anna Karen, Jacqueline Pearce, Sarah Sutton and Gareth Thomas
RRP 9.99
Available now

Colonel Franklin reluctantly grants Aaran access to Medicworld's Central Command, where he intends to fix the result of the Galactovision Song Contest. Meanwhile, Gamak and Cilla's entry is an unexpected success. And the Retsab Maureen nears her spawning time, when her hungry offspring will break loose...

Aaran's (Gareth Thomas) manipulation of Colonel Franklin (Sarah Sutton) is achieved by means of a control bracelet, which is rather reminiscent of the one Sutton wore as Nyssa in the Doctor Who story Logopolis. I was further reminded of Saturday teatimes of old by Aaran's megalomaniac laughter as his plans approach fruition - he sounds remarkably like Basil Brush, although he stops short of going "Boom, boom!"

I had been wondering how much longer the Galactovision Song Contest scenario could be successfully sustained. The CD's cover suggests that this episode revolves primarily around the competition. Fortunately, before the concept is allowed to outstay its welcome, there is a shift of emphasis as Aaran's scheme inadvertently causes the medical wellbeing of all on Medicworld to take a turn for the worse.

But sadly not before we are "treated" to another couple of songs, performed by Gamak (Mark J Thompson) and Chickenskin (Peter Ager) respectively. The return of the bantam menace prompts a resurgence of cock-related innuendo, but we seem to have heard all of this before.

Meanwhile, Madame Deephole (Jacqueline Pearce), Violet Goodgrip (Alison Taffs), Major Grondlepuss (Thompson) and Crispin Caelys (Niall Stuchfield) make considerable progress in their investigation, and remind the listener of certain plot developments along the way. As they head off for their next destination, Madame D's rallying cry finally spells out the relevance of the series title.

Part Nine culminates in one of the series' better cliffhangers, which has left me gagging for the double-disc Part Ten.

Richard McGinlay