Doctor Who: Cold Fusion

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Doctor Who: Cold Fusion – Starring Peter Davison, Sylvester McCoy, Sarah Sutton, Matthew Waterhouse, Janet Fielding, Yasmin Bannerman, Travis Oliver, Christine Kavanagh, Jeremy Hitchen, Sharon Maughan & Peter Caulfield & Written by Lance Parkin – 2xCD / Download (Big Finish)

On an unnamed and barren ice world, the TARDIS lands. The recently-regenerated fifth Doctor, Adric, Nyssa and Tegan find a once ordered society on the verge of collapse, as rebels wage a dirty war with Scientifica, the ruling elite. All that stands between order and anarchy is the massed presence of an Adjudicator peacekeeping force.

Meanwhile, on the same unnamed and barren ice world, another TARDIS lands. The seventh Doctor, Roz and Chris also find a once ordered society on the verge of collapse, as rebels wage a dirty war with Scientifica, the ruling elite. And guess what? All that stands between order and anarchy is the massed presence of an Adjudicator peacekeeping force…

Before long the Doctor and Adric are ambushed then arrested for being alien spies, while Tegan and Nyssa run into problems of their own when they meet a husky blond Australian called “Bruce”. And throughout it all, unknown to our erstwhile time travellers, Doctor Number Seven is elsewhere on the planet, investigating a strange machine found buried in the subterranean soil. Questions need to be answered. Is peace the only reason for the Adjudicator garrison? Who are the mysterious Feratu and what have they got to do with all of this? And why is telling a ghost story a criminal offence? As is his way, the Fifth Doctor sides with the cause of justice and fairness, but as a threat to the universe unfolds, he finds himself in conflict with his past and his future…

I enjoyed the Missing Adventures series of novels – they were more grown up and detailed than the Target television adaptions, but didn’t have the hard sci-fi or grimness of their stable-mates, the New Adventures. And, let’s face it, when us Whovians want to indulge in a few hours of fan-wank, we usually look to the multi-Doctor team-up to do the job. It doesn’t matter if the story is bad, or there are plot holes larger than potholes  – we love it when Doctors collide. Luckily for us, in the hands of Lance Parkin, there is no such thing as a bad story, be it single or multi-Doctor. He gives us a plot that rattles along at a great pace but doesn’t become bogged down in copious plot threads and complex mythology. Clever signposting throughout means that the audience always knows where they are, and the cherry on top of this particular audiobook cake has to be the myriad brilliant, if knowing, lines peppered throughout the story. “I don’t trust him, he just seems so…trustworthy” says Roz, remarking on Doctor Number Five. “The entire universe is at stake and I’m locked in here with another incarnation of myself, and not even one of the good ones!” proclaims Number Seven in frustration. And I had to smirk when Five asks Seven whether he sounds older than he should. In the past I may have been guilty of commenting on the loss of Davison’s youthful timbre with an older, huskier voice at odds with our memories of a 20-something Davison with his features, celery sticks and cricketing whites, so it was a nice surprise to have it mentioned by the man himself. Meanwhile, companions may be plentiful, but all are given space and time to develop, and the relationship between the two Doctors fizzes along so well that I’d like to see more Five and Seven team ups in the future.

If you like your cakes with cherries on top, then go and buy this one. You’ll thoroughly enjoy it.  Bex Ferriday

 

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