AUDIO DRAMA
(Doctor Who/Blake's 7 related)
Kaldor City
Occam's Razor

Starring: Paul Darrow and Russell Hunter
Magic Bullet Productions
RRP 9.99
Available now


Company Chairholder Uvanov grows increasingly concerned when his fellow board members are assassinated one by one. Could a recent arrival into Kaldor City - the enigmatic Kaston Iago - be connected with the murders? Or could he help Uvanov to solve them...?

This is the first in a series of CDs that builds upon the sci-fi works of Chris Boucher - the writer of numerous episodes of Doctor Who and Blake's 7, author of three Who novels, and creator of Star Cops. Particular inspiration is drawn from his Doctor Who serial The Robots of Death, which introduced the character of Uvanov as well as the sinister robots employed in Kaldor City, and Boucher's Who novel Corpse Marker, which provided the setting and also the character of ex-Federation psychostrategist, Carnell (Scott Fredericks).

Big Finish sound maestro Alistair Lock re-creates the distinctive soft-spoken voices of the robots, while Russell Hunter reprises the role of Uvanov. As Uvanov, Hunter is every bit as caustic and ruthless as he ever was, although the actor's Scottish accent shows through more than it did back in 1977.

As Iago, Paul Darrow - best known as Blake's 7's Avon - finds himself playing a similarly self-centred outlaw with a similar expertise for programming artificial intelligences. The scene in which Iago seduces Uvanov's personal assistant, Justina (Patricia Merrick), is laced with delicious innuendo and is remarkably reminiscent of scenes that Darrow played with Jacqueline Pearce's Servalan. In fact, this mysterious character could actually be Avon, if you wish to believe that he somehow survived the final episode of Blake's 7.

The impressive cast list also includes Trevor Cooper (who played hard man Colin Devis in Star Cops) and Brian Croucher (Blake's 7's second Travis) as a couple of rough-and-ready security agents. These two make an amusing, though violent, double act. Peter Miles and Peter (Zen, Orac, Slave) Tuddenham are also heard, in more minor roles.

There's quite a lot of bad language in this production - rather more that I felt was strictly necessary - but this remains a cleverly constructed political murder mystery. Writers Alan Stevens and Jim Smith have succeeded in capturing the spirit and style of Boucher's best works.

Richard McGinlay