Audiobook Review: Doctor Who #236: Serpent in the Silver Mask by Big Finish

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At the core of the Big Finish release schedule is a monthly adventure featuring an earlier incarnation of the Doctor with his companions (many of whom are played by the original television actors). Peter Davison’s Fifth Doctor has been a part of that range since the very beginning and this month sees the release of a delightful comedic whodunit featuring Davison’s Doctor alongside his original companions Adric (Matthew Waterhouse), Tegan (Janet Fielding) and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton). There is a particular delight in having this quartet of actors reliving their famous past and they all seem to be having an absolute blast doing it.

Set on a tax haven known as Argentia, the TARDIS crew find themselves embroiled in a murder mystery that sees several members of the infamous Mazzini family get murdered for an inheritance of nine billion credits. The script, by David Llewelyn, is an absolute cracker with much hilarity and action to keep the listener entertained throughout. It also allows Davison’s Doctor to spend quality time with himself instead of having to drag around at least one of his companions. The storyline splits into 3 narratives but, despite this, the plot is fairly easy to follow unlike a lot of other Big Finish scripts.

The small support cast are headlined by the wonderful Samuel West who plays 8 different roles in the course of the production (all members of the Mazzini family). It is a homage to the classic Alec Guinness film Kind Hearts and Coronets in which the actor does a similar role. He is ably supported by Sophie Winkleman (Sophia) and Phil Cornwell (Superintendent Galgo/Zaleb 5) both of whom do their roles superbly.

The direction by Barnaby Edwards is tight and always keeps the action moving. The sound design and music by Andy Hardwick is also up to the usual high standard that we have come to expect from Big Finish. There is a suite of music from the story and a small behind-the-scenes feature included as part of the bonus material for this release.

If you have yet to try the Big Finish main range then this may well be a good introduction to it. This is a fun, rollicking tale that will keep you guessing until the final reveal. Well worth a listen.

Reviewed by Rodney Hrvatin
Twitter: @Wagnerfan74

Rating out of 10: 9

Distributed by: Big Finish Productions
Released: March 2018
RRP: $27 CD, $13 Digital Download

90%
90%
Wonderful

If you have yet to try the Big Finish main range then this may well be a good introduction to it. This is a fun, rollicking tale that will keep you guessing until the final reveal. Well worth a listen.

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About Author

Rodney is a long-serving member of the Adelaide Theatre community as a musician, musical director and performer. He has also been a lifelong lover of the cinema.

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