On a world ravaged by an ecological disaster, Nyssa finds
herself under arrest, while the Doctor also faces interrogation.
But who should the time-travellers side with - the disfigured
people of Veln or the aliens they despise? Who is right and
who is wrong? It's all a matter of perspective...
Pay close attention as you listen to this audio adventure,
otherwise you could end up thinking that the production team
haven't edited the story together in the right order! Writer/director
Nicholas Briggs takes an experimental approach by conveying
events out of sequence. For example, the Doctor (Peter Davison)
and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) depart in the TARDIS in Part Three,
but arrive during Part Four.
effect of this shuffling of scenes is to demonstrate, as the
movie Memento and the TV show Boomtown do so
well, the importance of context when forming opinions about
people and situations. The concepts of right and wrong are,
like beauty, in the eye of the beholder. Deceptive appearances
are what this story is all about, and thus we don't truly
find out who the "bad guys" are until the closing moments.
all the time-shifting going on, the endings to Parts One and
Three aren't really cliffhangers at all. Instead, the theme
music seems to cut in merely to mark time, and these endings
are actually quite confusing. If you were hearing this serial
on the radio, you could easily mistake Part Three for the
final episode. I think Briggs should have done away with the
four-part structure altogether, and just retained one cliffhanger
at the end of the first CD.
Nevertheless, this is a bold - and successful - experiment
in storytelling. If anything, the structure of Creatures
of Beauty is even less formal than an episode of Boomtown,
and that's saying something.