Review: Starlight Robbery / Author: Matt Fitton / Publisher: Big Finish Productions / Starring: Sylvester McCoy, Tracey Childs, Christian Edwards, Stuart Milligan, Dan Starkey, Jo Woodcock, Lizzie Roper / Release Date: Out Now
For the second year in a row, the Big Finish Seventh Doctor trilogy consists of three tightly linked adventures. Each of these has to work separately as a story and also combine to give a satisfactory overall arc. The middle story has the added responsibility of taking the setup from the first, looking after all the pieces, and allowing the final story to dovetail in. And for the second year in a row this task has fallen to Matt Fitton with the August release of Starlight Robbery.
The trilogy as a whole centres on the Seventh Doctor (McCoy) and Klein (Childs) (who has been a Nazi in other versions of history), along with Klein’s own assistant Will Arrowsmith (Edwards), a likeable geek lacking in confidence who grows across the trilogy (or so we assume). The overall trilogy is focused on the quest for a missing scientist and his Persuasion Machine which the Doctor learns is for sale at an interstellar arms auction…
The auction is being held by Garundel (Milligan), a slippery Salamander-like alien who Matt Fitton introduced in last year’s Black and White. I liked Garundel more this time round and he was contrasted with a whole host of other wonderful personages including his assistant Ziv (Woodcock), a dry yet funny character who could have walked straight off the set of Abigail’s Party. Unfortunately, the auction attracts the scary Krakenmother Banarra (Roper), a new character that needs to return as soon as possible. This is all then topped off with any number of Sontarans, all played by Dan Starkey, who seems to play Sontarans in all media at present.
There is some one-dimensionality in the Sontarans, as we have come to expect, but they and the Krakenmother give us many opportunities to compare the Klein we have now with the Nazi Klein of previous years. Although her character has yet to take centre stage in this trilogy, Tracey Childs' performance is giving us many hints as to the tensions that may erupt in the final part of this particular run of stories. We are also treated to a romantic subplot for Will and Ziv that never gets in the way of storytelling.
Despite the huge assembly of fleshed-out characters, Matt Fitton does an excellent job of telling a good story of betrayal, mixing in action and telling us more about Klein, Will and the Doctor’s schemes. The coup de grâce is the soft-landing of the villains from the final part of the trilogy! (Clue – next month’s story is entitled Daleks Among Us). This is up there with the best releases of the year so far and has set the bar high for the final story.