Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
The Doctor (Sylvester McCoy), Ace (Sophie Aldred) & Mel (Bonnie Langford) arrive in a recently reopened dock yard in Merseyside 1991. But how has the dock reopened under the Dark Alloy Corporation? Soon our heroes find alien involvement and when it turns out an old college friend of Mel’s is in charge at the docks, she is offered a job. The Doctor and Ace go in search of one of the aliens who is assassinating people and Mel mulls over the offer whilst offering computer help in the meantime.
This story is a really nice blend of the best of 7th Doctor on TV and of the Big Finish fulfilment of what the 7th Doctor was heading to being before cancelation. They use the time of the 7th Doctor (or just after) in the story and it’s always fun when you get a few present day stories, which in the classic series wasn’t always every week. It has the best of the era’s style without some of the more silly elements. Ace is a good example of this. She has the bombastic nature you would expect from the character, but she is taken seriously. Mel too gets a really good treatment. She has been using her computer skills throughout the recent run of stories, but here it really feels hard-baked into the story.
The threat in this story by Eddie Robson feels like one Andrew Cartmel as script editor would have used. The idea that dock yards are closing down and people being so desperate as to not ask too many questions when someone saves their job; as they are hurting for money. The alien threat is clever and although deadly also scary for how cold they are; again mirroring what can be cold corporations using people. It’s brought to life perfectly by the cast and director Ken Bentley. I enjoyed Jade Anouka as Danuta especially.
I give this 9/10
Buy it now on CD or download https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-blood-furnace-1258