Doctor Who: Point of Entry [Big Finish–The Lost Stories]

The obsessive-compulsive in me feels the need to revisit all of the Big Finish audios that I have previously listened to but not reviewed before going onto my new ones.  That’s why I’m still making my way through these Lost Stories, even though I have a perfectly good series of Tom Baker Fourth Doctor Adventures waiting for me.

Doctor Who Point of Entry.jpg

The Lost Stories are all based on scripts from back in the day that never made their way to television for one reason or another.  Or in this case, on a story idea that never made it to actual script stage.  The original idea was written by Barbara Clegg (who wrote the television story Enlightenment), and adapted by Marc Platt.  I listened to it once before and remembered it as a dreary affair, but in revisiting it it turned out to be better than I thought: still dreary, but engaging.

Point of Entry–a forced title, if ever there was one–the script really works hard to give the villain numerous opportunities to spurt it out dramatically–finds the 6thDoctor (Colin Baker) and Peri (Nicola Bryant) meeting Christopher Marlowe in 16th century London, and get wrapped up in his explorations of “dark knowledge” in his efforts to write his version of Doctor Faustus.  Of course, since this is Doctor Who, dark knowledge is really all about aliens, in this case creatures trapped within a nearby asteroid who desperately want to be released to roam the earth.  Human sacrifice and Aztec ritual are involved, as well as international espionage (since Marlowe also works as a spy for England–a possible historical truth).

It is almost impossible to imagine Point of Entry actually playing on TV, and certainly not in the mid 1980’s as was the original idea.  Or rather, if it had, it for sure would have been terrible.  The story features a skeletal villain who flies abruptly into the air, extensive astral projection, and Peri disguised as Queen Elizabeth…all of which would have been absurd on the show of the period.  It also features a lot of darkness, with human sacrifice, a guy with his tongue cut out, and all sorts of pseudo-sorcery–all of that would have either have been ridiculous on TV, or would have been a bit too miserable to enjoy.

As it is, it’s possible to get lost in audio version, featuring as it does a creepy atmosphere about miserable people, with decent performances and sound design.  It also allows the Doctor to hold a solid moral position by the Doctor–about how Marlowe’s obsession will ultimately destroy him–which Colin Baker does well.  It’s only in the last 25% of the story that it begins to feel overlong, with a lot of to-do on board a ship on the ocean and Peri impersonating the Queen being a bit of a drag on the story at a point where I was ready for it to end.

 

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