Written by Marc Platt
Published by Big Finish
The last in the current series featuring the Fifth Doctor and Tegan, Turlough and Nyssa, The Butcher of Brisbane serves as both a prequel to the classic Fourth Doctor adventure The Talons of Weng-Chiang and sequel to an obscure DWM comic strip Under Reykjavik.
On a trip back to Tegan’s home in Brisbane, the Tardis is caught in a time beam. The Doctor and his companions find themselves three years apart, with old adversary Magnus Greel bridging the divide as he plans to conquer 51st Century Earth and discover the secret of time travel.
Marc Platt’s script is a real mind bender as the story jumps between time periods, but the steady direction and performances help to keep the listener on track far more than other recent Big Finish releases. What develops is a tense and gripping tale as the Sixth World War creeps inexorably closer, with Nyssa in particular playing a surprising role in the proceedings.
Angus Wright brings real depth to Greel (original actor Michael Spice died in 1983), and keeps the listener guessing as to his true motivations. Far more clearly a villain of the piece is Rupert Frazer as Findecker, Greel’s chief scientist, a character only ever alluded to in the aforementioned comic strip tale, whose Time Cabinet fans of the TV show will know and love.
Sarah Sutton once again excels as Nyssa, and her role at the heart of this tale leaves the other companions playing catch up, but Peter Davison is allowed to dig the depths of the Doctor as he observes proceedings with a darkly knowing mind. This culminates in a wonderful moment towards the end that will really get fans debating and clamouring for a follow up to this tale.
A delight from start to finish, with much to offer fans of both 1970’s and 1980’s Doctor Who, this is one highly recommended release.