Published by Big Finish
This audio drama, the first in a new trilogy for the Seventh Doctor, Ace and audio-only companion Hex, takes us to 1980s Britain, when the threat of nuclear war hung heavy over the country.
When the Doctor mysteriously disappears from the Tardis mid-flight, and the ominous Cloister Bell begins to toll, Ace and Hex land on Earth to seek help. What they find are married couple Albert and Peggy Marsden, busily constructing a fallout shelter in the grounds of their remote cottage. For Russian troops have seized American bases in West Germany, and this version of the world stands on the brink of World War Three.
The first half of this drama is totally gripping, as Ace and Hex join the Marsdens in their shelter when the bomb finally drops. For those of us who remember the period, as writer Morris clearly does, the scenes of the aftermath are visceral and superbly acted by the cast.
It is only at the mid-point that the Doctor really appears, and his attempts to rewind history and prevent the apocalypse take this tale in a completely different direction, distinctly lighter in tone despite what has come before. This then heralds a twist filled third act, ?which while benefitting from excellent work by Sophie Aldred and Philip Oliver, cannot the sustain the tension that precedes it.
A cliffhanger ending ensures that anyone hearing this drama will want to buy next month’s release Black and White. This arc promises major challenges for the Doctor and his companions, and I feel it will not end well for at least some of them.