Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
In the last of this run of 5th Doctor (Peter Davison) adventures with Nyssa (Sarah Sutton), Adric (Matthew Waterhouse) and Tegan (Janet Fielding) the Tardis experiences a psychic attack and Adric and Tegan are taken. The Doctor and Nyssa on the trail find themselves on the planet Zaltys where the inhabitants have disappeared under strange circumstances. Adric and Tegan find themselves separated and facing challenges of their own whilst the Doctor & Nyssa look for their friends whilst trying to deal with treasure seekers who are plundering this ‘planet of the dead’.
One thing I have said about this series is that they have got the characterisation spot on through-out and this is no exception. There audios may have even done a better job of realising the ‘USP’ behind the characters than they got in a lot of the stories on TV. Tegan fairs especially well in this story. Not only is she her usual sarcastic self who is irritated by proceedings; she also gets to have a really nice action role. Does sound like her, but given the circumstances she finds herself in this feels right as to how she would react. She also plays off Adric really well at the beginning by using her whiley ways to play on his want to prove himself to the Doctor.
As for the story it is a busy one. I applaud any writer who swings for the fences and Matthew J Elliott certainly does that. We have vampires, fish people, telepaths and all manner of other interesting characters. This for me does get a little confusing and maybe over crowded. I want to spend more time with these interesting people and given that our heroes are separated through-out the story we are already going between different locations; so it adds a lot to take in. It is possible this is one that might need a few listens for that reason to take it all in, but on first listen I maybe felt this could be distilled down a little bit. This is funny for me to say really as I have always been a defender of the crowded Tardis; but it does show that it is not always easy to balance a story line for four main characters.
The direction from Barnaby Edwards is great as always and he has assembled a great cast for these diverse creatures involved; so much so, I wanted to spend more time with each of them.
I give this one 5/10 sonics. https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/zaltys-1253