Published by Big Finish
This first installment in a multi-Doctor arc sees the Fifth Doctor travelling alone when the Tardis lands on a space cruiser bound for the planet Shamax. The crew are searching for a shipwrecked Princess whose impending marriage will bind two warring Houses of the Drashsni Empire. But the ship is also carrying a deadly cargo.
Writer John Dorney says he set out to write a full throttle thriller. To describe this audio in those terms is an understatement: The Burning Prince must be one of the most exciting adventures for The Doctor in any medium. The drama hardly stops for breath in the two hour running time which few listeners will want to break away from.
Peter Davison grabs his story arc with both hands and leads an excellent cast through horror, escape and more horror, as the ship’s resident Igris (member of a genetically modified slave race) breaks from its hold and lays waste to the crew. As ever, we know The Doctor will be safe, but the fates of the rest of the cast are in the balance.
If this first part is redolent of a ramped up version of Alien, when the ship crashes on Shamax, Dorney adds an ‘s’ to his influences with the planet covered in thousands of Igris who have rebelled and overthrown their masters. As deadly as the Daleks but more terrifying in their brutality, the Igris are one race I’d love to see in the TV series some day.
I won’t spoil the story by revealing more here. The character and story arc of the Burning Prince himself is rather overshadowed by the Igris horror, but this is the first of a three part sequence, and some story threads will presumably have more presence in later releases. What we are left with is a high water mark of story, performance and sound design (do listen on headphones) coming together to create a thrilling adventure that rivals anything Mr Moffat can offer.