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Doctor Who: The Raincloud Man by Eddie Robson

01/01/2009. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: The Raincloud Man in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: The Raincloud Man in the UK

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CD. pub: Big Finish ISBN: 978-1-84435-325-5. 120 minute CD. Price: 8.99 (UK). download 7.99). . stars: Colin Baker, India Fisher, Anna Hope, Michael Fenton Stevens, Aidan J. David, Octavia Walters, Simon Sherlock, Jeremy James, Steve Hansell and Andrew Dickens.

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The Doctor and Charley have overcome 'The Return Of The Crotons' (subscribers only, folks) and are enjoying a hearty breakfast when they meet up with Detective Inspector Menzies (Anna Hope). She's surprised to see them and surprisingly quite pleased. Since they last met, Menzies has become the custodian of Manchester's X-Files and she could do with the Doctor's specialised knowledge.

There have been a spate of unexplained deaths and Menzies wants help to track down the perpetrators. Things don't go to plan and before you can say, 'Black Maria', Charlie is in the back of a police car as number one suspect in yet another suspicious death.

The Doctor finds evidence of another time traveller in the city and there is a very high stakes casino in town. Its top table could take your memories, your youth or maybe your life if you are that desperate. There's another complication as Charley is still keen to keep the Doctor in the dark about her previous existence and his future self. She's worried about the web of time going snip-snap and she's been there and done that before.

There's quite a lot of action and some big budget special effects going on here. What a shame we can't see them. The dialogue crackles as usual and the team of the Sixth Doctor and Charlie. She cares deeply for both of her Doctors and wants to protect him/them in case everything goes ker-spat. The detective is another interesting sidekick with an order of a small amount of envy for Charlie's privileged position. Her street-wise persona adds a little vinegar to the proceedings. Her girlish wistful desire for travel with the Doctor is also appropriate. The streets of Manchester are tough but she would like some new adventures.

Guest star Michael Fenton Stevens fills out this bounteous feast as Brooks, the head of the dodgy casino who is definitely more than he appears. Lish (Aidan J. David), his employee, otherwise known as the Raincloud Man is crucial to the success of the casino and may offer a key to the unfortunate spate of deaths.

This Doctor story is part police procedural. It reunites the team from 'The Condemned' and was written by Eddie Robson. He is also the author of previous Big Finish plays, 'Phobos' and the Eighth Doctor series cliff-hanger 'Human Resources'. Somehow, the presence of "Sixie" Colin Baker is a guarantee of success. They uplift any story. This is the usual convoluted storyline involving aliens, time-travel, a little sleuthing and the occasional dark moment. The story arc of Charlie's deception continues to offer a satisfying background. I'm looking forward to see how that resolves in the future.

Sue Davies

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This book has 67 votes in the sci-fi charts

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