Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
The writing partnership of Cavan Scott and Mark Wright return to Big Finish with the 4th Doctor adventure, The Eternal Battle (the kind of title that sounds like it should have been done before).The thing I am struck by with these guys is the fact that I never feel like it’s a Scott & Wright book / audio / any other projects as you might with other writers. I find more importantly; I get a great story that fits perfectly in the style of the Doctor they are writing in and then when I go to look at who wrote it, I then think, of course, they are great writers. With Cavan Scott I think he is particularly good at finding angles on the Doctors that sometimes adds and enhances the character but fits in with them.
The story focuses on a group of battling Sontarans who have lost their taste for death; as their deaths aren’t sticking. They keep coming back as zombie versions of themselves. This is an amazing idea that shows they writers have gone back to the Sontaran well to see what makes them tick and then turned it on it’s head. What does a Sontaran want? Glorious death. How do we turn that on it’s head? If they can’t die and in fact they lose their honour in death. Brilliant.
Tom Baker as the 4th Doctor, Romana II played by Lalla Ward & John Leeson as K9 are on top form. Tom in the extra’s talks about how you have to keep people coming back when you know the Doctor will always win. I think they key to this in this story is how they will resolve the situation and the actors all pull the taffee nicely and give performances that keep you guessing.
Also Dan Starkey back as the Sontarans is always a treat. He gives us a master class in the extra’s on how he achieves a period Sontaran voice based on the original Sontaran played by Kevin Linsay. He even adds a twinge of Australian based on that actor that I think contributes to the Sontaran voice. I also love the idea of making the monsters sound like they did in that period of the show. Who’s to say Sontaran speech patterns didn’t change with the years? It also shows how much Dan cares about the role. He isn’t just doing his Sontaran AKA Strax voice; he is thinking about how that particular Sontaran would sound. A good thing seeing as he plays a whole platoon of Sontaran clones in this one and you never wonder who is talking.
Nicholas Briggs deserves a lot of credit too as the director as the pacing and sharpness in this one is pitch perfect.
I give this one a well-earned 8/10 Sontaran Clones.
Buy it here https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-eternal-battle-1234
Order from Amazon
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Also listen to my interview with writer Cavan Scott here https://GallifreyStandsPodcast.podbean.com/mf/web/xjqa65/Ep115_-_Cavan_Scott.mp3