On the planet Prosper, the Doctor and Mel have brokered peace between the native mole-like Mogera and the humans from colony ship The Duke of Milan. A century later, the Doctor returns, this time with Ace and an older Mel in tow, only to find that this peace didn’t last, and Prosper is in a worse state than ever. The humans live in fear of the Mogera, who have mutated into ogre-like monsters, and their brutal leader Caliban. Worse, it’s all the Doctor’s fault!
The Doctor’s guilt is an intriguing hook for a story, perhaps similar to the situation the Ninth Doctor found himself in in 2005’s Bad Wolf, and writer Matthew J Elliott gets some good material out of this, with the Doctor even considering changing his past actions – though this extreme thought is only briefly explored. Meanwhile, in their third adventure together, Ace and Mel once again stand out as fine companions; Ace becomes a captive of a Mogera soldier and deals with it in her usual hard-nosed way, while Mel gets a chance to show off those computing skills.
If some of the character and location names seem familiar to you, you may have noticed that this story is inspired by The Tempest, featuring a shipwrecked crew, technology which seems like magic, and mysterious monsters; in fact, several characters directly quote Shakespeare’s play. This does add an edge of magical fantasy to proceedings, though it is odd that it’s never actually addressed – surely the Doctor’s met Mr. Shakespeare enough times to pick up on this? There’s also a bit of a The Time Machine feel, with the advanced ground-dwelling race in conflict with the devolved subterranean race. The plot, however, doesn’t take the same twists and turns of either, so don’t assume that knowing those texts will mean you know where this is going!
Made to Big Finish’s usual high production quality, this is another great release, and the second best sci-fi adaptation of The Tempest available, after Forbidden Planet. Most of all, the Seventh Doctor, Mel and Ace, portrayed with charm and energy by McCoy, Langford and Aldred, are a great TARDIS team – this is the third and final of their current ‘trilogy’ together, but we hope to hear them again soon!
DOCTOR WHO – MAKER OF DEMONS / AUTHOR: MATTHEW J ELLIOTT / DIRECTOR: KEN BENTLEY / STARRING: SYLVESTER MCCOY, BONNIE LANGFORD, SOPHIE ALDRED / PUBLISHER: BIG FINISH / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW