Tom Baker & Lalla Ward are back as the 4th Doctor & Romana. When they arrive on Fundrell a planet where the landscape moves in waves and soon leads them to lose the Tardis and the Doctor to lose Romana. A foreseer at the end of his path see’s the coming of the Tardis crew before being stripped of his position, being see as unreliable in his visions. Romana finds an old friend from her academy days, the Doctor finds a deeper plot at work and the son of the Seer must try to fill his Fathers position. As if all this wasn’t strange enough, who or what is Fendrell’s daughter?
Ok, for a start I know that description is cryptic at best. This story is a great one by Marc Platt, but it’s complicated and takes it’s time to weave so many strands. The first part is mostly manoeuvring things into place in a clever and engaging way. In part two the drama really takes over and you start to see where the story is going, only to get a massive plot twist and the reveal this is just part one of a 2-story set, one I look forward to the conclusion of.
Really for Tom Baker and Lalla Ward all you need is for the script to be good and you know you will get a great performance from them. Heck, you’d get a good performance with a bad script, but not an issue here. Both are given some real meat to chew. The addition of Joannah Tincey as Romana’s Pridonian pal Sartia is great and gives a lot for Romana to play off. To begin with you feel like Romana is almost talking to who she was before travelling with the Doctor and realising there is more to life than following the will of the High Council.
The other story with the seers played by Des McAleer and Alex Wyndham is interesting in itself but also informs and I get the feeling will be vital to the plot in the next story.
This feels like really classic 4th Doctor stuff with a bit of the ‘budget of the mind’ you can only get on audio. Mind you I can just imagine the titular Sleek (electric eel like creatures) and how they might have looked being made in the BBC workshop, maybe something akin to the Green Death?
Buy this story now on CD or Download https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/the-skin-of-the-sleek-1240