Doctor Who
The Creed of the Kromon

Starring: Paul McGann
Big Finish Productions
RRP 13.99
ISBN 1 84435 036 3
Available now

Searching for the TARDIS, the Doctor and Charley pass through the fearsome Interzone barrier into an arid land. This region is ruled by the termite-like Kromon race, who capture Charley and threaten to transform her into a hybrid-insect Queen. The Doctor must barter his knowledge of space-travel technology to save her...

This adventure marks to return to Doctor Who of writer Philip Martin, who penned the Colin Baker stories Vengeance on Varos and Mindwarp (parts five to eight of The Trial of a Time Lord), and the novel Mission to Magnus.

At the request of Big Finish, the story does not feature Martin's recurring villain Sil, though there are plenty of weird aliens here to choose from. We have the insectoid Kromon (Daniel Hogarth and Stephen Perring putting on various voices), the chameleon-like Eutermesans, represented by new companion C'rizz (Conrad Westmaas), the sinister disembodied voice of the Kro'ka (Stephen Perring), and a fearsome yet friendly hairy beast called the Oroog (Brian Cobby). In fact, apart from the Doctor (Paul McGann) and Charley (India Fisher), there are no humanoid characters at all, which brings to mind the experimental William Hartnell insect adventure The Web Planet. Having said that, C'rizz's character and motivations seem very human, in spite of his bony skull ridges and ability to change colour (both of which, of course, can only be conveyed in the dialogue).

It has to be said that, despite the absence of Sil, several aspects of this tale are reminiscent of him and/or Vengeance on Varos. Like Sil, the Kromon have revolting eating habits, slurping and burping their way through a feast of maggots for instance, and like Sil's people, the Mentors, their society is organised along corporate lines, though they are more concerned with bureaucracy than profit. Most obviously of all, the metamorphosis of Charley is bound to draw comparison with the transmogrification of Peri in Varos, while the mind games played by the Kro'ka at the outset of the story are similar to those experienced in the Purple Zone in the same television serial.

The Creed of the Kromon is a curious mixture of the traditional and the downright strange, which doesn't always work. However, I enjoyed this more than Scherzo.

Richard McGinlay

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