Sunday, 20 September 2015

4th Doctor 3.2 - White Ghosts

Expectations are funny things, made up of past experiences, wishful thinking, anticipation, dread, dreams, ambitions, we all have them.  Some great, some not so great, but when it comes to an adventure starring Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, I have certain expectations. Tom will be bonkers, Louise will act her socks off as Leela, but as far as the story goes, my expectations would be for a pastiche of season fifteen, much as we got with last monthsThe King of Sontar, and to a certain degree, we do, but White Ghosts is a strange beast – satisfying, exceeding but also not delivering on my expectations all within the space of two episodes.
The story carries on from The King Of Sontar, The Doctor and Leela are not on the best of terms, she is in the library reading a book of English Fairy Tales and taking them rather literally when The Doctor discovers her, and then the plot begins. The TARDIS is in the path of an oncoming missile on an airless almost permanently dark planet, the Doctor and Leela take it upon themselves to warn the survey team on this planet, an odd bunch who have gone to great extremes to adapt to the dark and lack of oxygen, and then, the missile explodes in the atmosphere bringing light to this cold dark planet, and all hell breaks loose.
I spoke earlier about expectations, one thing I don’t expect from a Big Finish audio is not to be engaged in the plot, and to be honest, part one left me feeling rather cold. But oh dear reader, part two, part two is a thing of beauty, from Louise Jameson’s inner monologue when fighting the White Ghosts, to Tom Baker going from silly to cold and deathly serious, to the astounding concept of what the dark planet is actually for – it’s bonkers, it really is, but it works! A special mention must go to the lovely Virginia Hey as Bengel, someone who has sacrificed way to much in the name of research, what started off as a run of the mill mid-season story ends in a way in just didn’t see coming, my expectations were lowered by the pace of part one, but completely exceeded by part two, I love it when this happens, that the tone is so completely different between parts, and how all the actors up their game as the script they are following gets more intense.
It’s going to be interesting to see how the relationship between The Doctor and Leela plays out over the remainder of the season, as for the second story in a row, they are not seeing eye-to-eye.
An interesting oddity of a story, it’s agriculture Jim, but not as we know it!
Overall 7/10