Sunday, 20 September 2015

4th Doctor 4.8 - Return To Telos

Since listening to last month’s release, The Fate of Krelos, I have been wondering to myself, “How on earth do you follow that!”because it really is a bit of a classic.
I was reminded of Doctor Who Series 3 back in 2007 (cue strummy harp flashback music) and Paul Cornell’s wonderful two-parter Human Nature and Family of Blood – how do you follow the greatest Doctor Who TV story? You have Blink, then the Master Trilogy. You don’t give the audience enough time to breathe and to reflect that perhaps it will never reach the heights of Human Nature again, you keep on putting on classic episodes – and with Return to Telos that is exactly what Nick Briggs has done.
This is a difficult release to review without giving away spoilers, but essential listening is The Fate of Krelos which forms the first half of this story and ends on a cliffhanger and is available here.
Okay, listened to it? Read on and expect mild spoilers…
K9 is under the control of the Cybermen and takes the TARDIS to their adopted home planet of Telos. Now then – and this is the clever part that will make you want to watch Tomb of the Cybermen again – at the same time the Second Doctor and Jamie are also there exploring the Tombs.  With both Frazer Hines and Bernard Holley reprising their roles as Jamie and Peter Haydon it’s almost like deleted scenes from Tomb have been discovered on audio and have been slotted in to the story. The incidental music perfectly captures the feeling of Tomb but this is no mere nostalgia trip, the incidents in Tomb have a massive effect on the rest of the story.
Now longtime readers will know that I am not a fan of “timey-wimey” (or as I call them “cheat endings”) and Nick Briggs has avoided this cliche and crafted a perfectly logical series of cause and effect begun in the Tombs leading to the Cyber Invasion of Krelos. It’s one of those wonderfully fatalistic Who stories where the Doctor is literally battling against the forces of cause and effect and is bound to lose.  The cliffhanger to part one seems completely hopeless – events that happen have to happen. It is a really atmospheric, melancholy and exciting story, and the denouement will have you punching the air.
Tom Baker and Louise Jameson are as wonderful as ever – Frazer Hines is astounding as Jamie and DELETED FOR SPOILERS, Michael Cochrane returns as the old but savvy Geralk, Veronica Roberts is tragic as his housekeeper Relly, the irony of her fate is not lost. A great cast, a great story, a great way to make you want to watch Tomb again and piece in the “deleted scenes” unearthed by Nick Briggs.
Is it as good as its predecessor? Difficult question. The Fate of Krelos was a quiet character based build up. Return to Telos is the plot-based blossoming of the seeds planted in Krelos. It’s unfair to compare the two as they form a whole. As for enjoyment, I tend to prefer the character based stories, so Krelos has it for me – but Return To Telos is just fab, like Blink following Human Nature, or to be more accurate, like Tomb following Evil of the Daleks – a different emphasis as is required by the plot.
Wonderful stuff 9/10.