Review by Doctor Squee (Host of Gallifrey Stands Podcast)
The UNIT team are back, chasing computer generated worlds, Cybermen and the Master all in one set!
Game Theory by Matt Fitton
Sam Bishop (Warren Brown) has been kidnapped and to get him back Kate (Jemma Redgrave) & Osgood (Ingrid Oliver) are put through a series of impossible challenges, but can they complete them in time? And in the meantime Sam is put through some challenges of his own.
This is one of these wonderful moments where real life events drive the direction the story goes in. Thanks to Warren Brown’s work commitments during the last set he needed to be written out, so the idea of him having been kidnapped and them re-finding him in this set fits very nicely and sets a dynamic start to this story. Without giving away how, this story sets up the virtual reality that will be a driving force for the stories to come. A really nice start.
Telepresence by Guy Adams
Whilst testing some salvaged equipment, Osgood, Colonel Shindi (Ramon Tikaram) & Josh (James Joyce) go into a virtual environment that shows another world, with Kate only able to offer help via radio. But are the dangers real or can they exercise mind over matter?
This story is great. It has some really nice character profiles. Osgood is frustrated at being able to see things around her but not run tests as she can’t physically be there. Tikaram gets to play a bit more with Shindi being in the field; using his expertise as well as his sardonic wit. And We feel Kate’s frustration as she can’t be there and her efforts to help are thwarted.
Code Silver by Guy Adams
UNIT is invaded by a new breed of Cybermen from another world and must work out the rules of how to defeat this new strain of the metal invaders. This is not helped by a partially converted Osgood advising the Cybermen on how best to defeat Kate Stewart.
I love how this story brings in the ideas set out by “World Enough” on TV who of Cybermen being an idea in countless realities. But they take it a step further and really go into what that means for trying to stop them. Do these Cybermen react to gold for instance? So you can in this way pick and choose what you want a known and loved baddie of the Who world to be able to do and you can craft an original solution. Having your cake and eating it too. It’s always good to pit an ingenious friend against the team too. How do you defeat someone who knows exactly how you work and has the brains to plan against you? Your greatest asset soon becomes your biggest weakness.
Master of Worlds by Matt Fitton
Leading straight on from the last adventure, the War Master (Derek Jacobi) arrives in his TARDIS and Kate Stewart is willing to take help where she can get it before the Cybermen succeed in upgrading all of humanity. But as always when you deal with the Master the one thing you can trust is he cannot be trusted. All you can hope for is for your interests to align with his.Derek Jacobi played the Master for only a few minutes on TV, but somehow you know this is exactly that Master. He enjoys every moment with a dark, twisted and delicious sense of humour. He keeps you guessing how far his help will last for and what he is really trying to get out of it for himself. They also pay considerable pathos to the history between UNIT and the Master. How the Brigadier bested the Master so many times with the Doctor and how Kate Stewart measures up to her father’s legacy. Will she pull the trigger where maybe her Father stayed his hand? It is acting at it’s best.
This is a great example of the work this version of UNIT consistently comes up with. If anything the relationships are even tighter. Maybe assisted somewhat (as revealed in the extras) by the fact the actors where all together during recording, which in this day technology wise isn’t a necessity but must help acting chemistry. The stories by Fitton and Adams weave flawlessly together yet still gives us some good stand-alone tales. A nice mix of new ideas and classic foes. 9/10.
Buy it on CD or download here: https://www.bigfinish.com/releases/v/unit—cyber-reality-1532