Doctor Who: Voyage to the New World
Written by Matthew Sweet
Published by Big Finish
This sequel to the recent Voyage to Venus picks up from the latter’s cliffhanger ending, which left Professor Lightfoot, Henry Gordon Jago and the Sixth Doctor facing hostile natives in late 16th Century America.
The story details the fate of Sir Walter Raleigh’s settlement on Roanoke Island, where settlers and the indigenous population have been affected by a mysterious illness. The Doctor and his companions are quickly blamed, and have to uncover the secret of the children of Croaton to get to the truth. Meanwhile, the Tardis is transported back to England and an inquisitive Raleigh.
What starts as a fairly straight historical adventure, rich in period detail, soon takes an eerie, even melancholy air, with strange children manifesting themselves on the island. Once Jago is afflicted by the strange disease, and starts to lose physical substance, we are firmly in the realm of the otherworldly. Strong writing and performances make this sequence of the tale most affecting.
The resolution of the mystery involves some intriguing twists and turns, though the Doctor’s own role in this is somewhat overshadowed by a large cast of strong characters. That said, Colin Baker once again proves the Sixth Doctor to be a more natural foil to the Victorian duo than the Fourth.
A coda to the drama leaves Jago and Litefoot in 1960s London, setting up their forthcoming new series of Doctor less adventures. But on the strength of both voyages to Venus and the New World, I hope their paths cross again with the Sixth Doctor’s before long.