Phantasmagoria (#2)

Big Finish Main Range

This one is also relatively strong but based solely on the incredible voice work of David Ryall as Sir Nicholas Valentine, the ultimately gravely voice bad dude from another world. Another good adventure, involving the first companion of the BF series Turlough, that isn’t lacking for much but isn’t “WOW”. Without the excellent bad guy voice in this adventure, it could’ve quickly slid into the tedious and “generic” bad guy adventure. It seems that half of the success of an audio drama lies in the success of the bad guy. Some of them are just not scary much, as witnessed in #3, Whispers of Terror. But I digress…

It’s excellent to see Turlough out there again, a bit more of a whole person than the boy we saw on TV. One of my favorite companions to the 5th Doctor, along with Nyssa (the best!), he has a give and take with Peter Davison that makes the interaction interesting. He’s not just your standard human-from-earth and likes to bring that up a lot, which gives his interacting with the Doctor an interesting angle. The Dr.’s very used to dealing with earthlings as companions, that’s for sure. I just really like the more relaxed way the Dr. deals with Turlough and Nyssa. He knows they have their expertise areas that he can count on and they’re learning other skills from him instead. With Turlough, it’s about making him a better person in general.

And with this audio, he is displaying traits of that becoming a better person, though a bit reluctantly. The Dr. and Turlough make their own investigations separately and end up in similar places—nice to see a companion doing something on his own, too. Though that independence does get him in a spot of bother, as it were. But overall, a decent story and one I don’t mind listening to again. But not one I’d pick out to listen to again and again. That comes with later stories…

Peter Davison and Mark Strickson

Writer: Mark Gatiss

Director: Nicholas Briggs

Release: October 1999

Laura Vilensky 2019