Winter for the Adept (#10)

Big Finish Main Range

One that doesn’t do quite as well re-listening to it later yet I still find it to be very good listening. I rather enjoyed the ventral slaying claws and the accidental teleportation. Once again the interplay between Peter Davison’s Doctor and Sarah Sutton’s Nyssa are what really make the play! If this had been Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor and Ace it might have either been really boring or filled with a lot more explosions. Instead, we get a lot of character development, reminding us of just what makes a good companion/Doctor team. Nyssa helps the Doctor talk things out for us the listeners. And it doesn’t sound forced at all. Allison’s fascinated by the TARDIS—who among us wouldn’t be?

And we are introduced to the pre-Charley India Fisher, giving her a chance to show her range as a voice actor before she joins the regular cast. I don’t know what the timing is on her actually being given the job of Charley but she does petulance quite well here! I have to also mention that I don’t like the cover to this audio because it hints at things that aren’t really there—ice creature/ghost-like. Harding Wellman is a ghost but he’s a human ghost. I usually enjoy the images, though I always end up wanting the other cover when I get a random cover (as with The Nowhere Place, for example). This one bugged me probably because I rather enjoyed the audio and the image was kind of blah.

<spoilers ahead>

The thing that puts this audio over the top is the diary “bookends” to the story as Alison does a voice-over, talking about her previous experiences with the Doctor in the school. Amazingly well done. It gives the story the framework and lets you know that she does survive, actually. My biggest reason for not giving this audio full marks is that it drags a little. The Spillagers (Villagers with an Sp?) have everything in place already so why not just kill off the Doctor and Nyssa right away? Why go through the farce of letting them just hang around at the school and maybe figure things out? The girls are trapped there either way and they’re the only ones they have to keep alive. The headmistress isn’t important and the ghost is already dead. Why bother? Other than to make it a story… So though it’s a good story because of the Doctor and Nyssa, they’re ultimately surplus to the Spillagers’s requirements and their downfall.

Though this does also continue on the cold and snow theme that began with Land of the Dead and allows Nyssa and the Doctor to expand their relationship. And let us listen in on how they develop as characters. The Doctor doesn’t have to insinuate himself much or oversee too much destruction, for once. The scary side of the Doctor just doesn’t show itself much in this audio! And that’s just fine.

Peter Davison, Sarah Sutton, India Fisher, AND Peter Jurasik (of B5 fame)

Writer: Andrew Cartmel

Director: Gary Russell

Release: July 2000

Laura Vilensky 2019