Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
Without beating around the bush; it’s another pretty perfect 4th Doctor story!
Writer Adrian Poynton presents us with a story that brings the best of the 4th Doctors eccentricities, character and the writing style of the time and matches it with a modern story and quick pacing. He takes a relatively simple idea of evolution being accelerated with unpredictable results and throws in submarines in space, a speaking ape and so much more.
In the extras we also see Nicholas Briggs rub a few more verbal touches on the top; feeding an ad-lib or 2 to Tom Baker. You can really hear in this and the recent Silent Scream Tom Baker is relishing reliving the heights of the fun side of the 4th Doctor; with the odd serious dramatic moment which his ever characterful voice is great for.
It’s also really nice for Lalla Ward’s Romana to be thrown in with the earlier mentioned talking ape. As Romana it’s easy to end up as the Doctor’s more serious foil, but I feel like she had a bit more fun in this one and a few of the recent releases. Top marks also have to go out to John Banks as Franklin the ape. Again, as is so rightly noted in the extra;, it’s not easy to play a talking monkey and not sound silly, or feel at risk of sounding so. The only way to do it is to throw yourself into it full tilt and risk looking foolish. Banks does this and after a few lines you totally buy it and feel for his character. The rest of the supporting cast are perfectly cast too.
There is so much going on, I think it may take a few listens to pick up on every nuance of this story and I admire the levels this story works on. Some stories feel like you could drop them into one series or another of the 4th Doctor. I would not see that with this story; but I could imagine this and the previously released Silent Scream in their own series with its own feel building on what went before.
The hour running time gives you the feel of how a Tom Baker Doctor Who story could work in the current format of a TV Doctor Who and its pretty damn special.
I give this a highly evolved 9/10!
Check out the rest of our Big Finish reviews!
Review – Doctor Who: The Silent Scream
Review – Philip Hinchcliffe Presents (Vol 3) – The Helm of Awe