Time changes things. At the start of a the century, a new Doctor Who story starring Tom Baker & Lala Ward as The Doctor and Romana seemed terribly unlikely, if not impossible. But now we appear to be in a geeky golden age, where remarkable things seem commonplace.
Doctor Who: The Movellan Grave brings the two Time Lords together for more Earth based shenanigans. We open with Romana complaining that they seem to be stuck in the early ‘80s, a lament that may be familiar to many Doctor Who fans. Both actors slip into their roles pretty effortlessly. Listening to the audios it’s easy to picture the classic characters and it feels as if time has not changed them one bit. The playful banter and one-upmanship that defines Gallifreyan nobility is front and centre here.
The plot is a sequel of sorts to Destiny of the Daleks, in the sense that it’s more Movellan action. Our Time Lords get wind that advanced technology has been found in an Iron Age mass grave. Hopping onto public transport (the TARDIS isn’t terribly reliable), the pair talk their way onto the dig. The archaeologist of course, are convinced that they’re in the middle of an elaborate prank as Iron Age man didn’t have circuit boards. All is not what it seems, and it quickly becomes apparent that the Earth is in terrible danger from a band of lost Movellans who have carelessly left one of their super-weapons abandoned and forgotten on Earth.
The story doesn’t really expand on the Movellans that much. We know they’re at war with the Daleks and that they’re cold, merciless killing machines. Their iconic look isn’t really discussed, but then it’s set in the ‘80s when disco was still around. Still classic Who fans know what they look like (as do curious Nu Who fans).
The acting is cracking, the setting works perfectly and the hapless students/archaeologists sound like they’ve just walked off the set of some awful ‘80s version of Time Team. Ward and Baker sparkle, of course, but the entire cast really do sell this story. It’s not the most original tale, but that doesn’t matter. Big Finish fans know what they like, after all. The extras involve interviews with the various actors, and these are good for a chuckle and aren’t too bland. Overall well worth a listen.
DOCTOR WHO: THE MOVELLAN GRAVE / DIRECTOR: NICHOLAS BRIGGS / WRITER: ANDREW SMITH / TOM BAKER, LALLA WARD, CAMILLA POWER, POLLY WALKER, CHRIS JARMAN / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW