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Doctor Who: Deimos by Jonathan Morris

01/02/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Deimos in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Deimos in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 1 CD 60 minute story. Price: CD: GBP 10.99 (UK). Download: GBP 8.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-479-5). cast: Paul McGann, Niky Wardley, David Warner, Nicky Henson, Susan Brown, Tracy-Ann Oberman, Nick Wilton, Nicholas Briggs and Jack Brown.

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Another day, another tourist destination. Deimos, one of the moons of Mars, is the place to see the great museum about the legendary Ice Warriors. There’s a bus and everything, which takes the tourists round the beautifully annotated museum. Each item has a label on it and the language of the Ice Warriors has been translated and described by Professor Boston Schooner (David Warner) who is clearly in awe of the creatures. He believes they were a great force for peace. That’s what happens when you don’t carry the one in translation basic. The tourists are about to get a shock as the air turns colder and the ‘peaceful’ Ice Warriors wake up. They think Mars can be re-made into a perfect habitat, there’s just a little problem that the human inhabitants need to be eliminated first.

When the Eighth Doctor (Paul McGann) and Tamsin (Niky Wardley) arrive, the tourist bus has been taken over and the Ice Warriors are on the move. The Professor is intrigued that they might be alive and the Security officer, Grenville (Nicky Henson), plainly bored by this prank. He does have to inform his ex-wife, Temperance Finch (Tracey-Ann Oberman), when he realises there really is trouble. She’s prepared to blast the Ice Warriors and tourists to hell but the Doctor wants a peaceful solution. There are some big decisions to be made and there is a shocking finish as well.

A jokey start to this audio misleads the listener into thinking this might be another light-hearted jaunt but that changes quite quickly and things get serious as peace talks are not a strong point of the Ice Warriors.

The catalogue of eminent guest stars is also joined by the very human and hapless but noble tourist couple who are played with great aplomb by Nick Wilton and Susan Brown (‘Torchwood: Children Of Earth’). David Warner has also been wheeled in to give his pretty much, off-the-cuff performance as the eminent Professor, who is a renowned but inaccurate expert on the long-dead Ice Warriors. Nick Briggs, as usual, gives good Ice Warrior and there must be a lot of spittle in that booth when he gets going. The guest stars also get the chance to be the supporting cast of Ice Warriors.

This is part one of a two-part cliff-hanger. The next episode concludes and brings great changes to the Doctor once again and things get very dark indeed in ‘The Resurrection Of Mars’. It is gripping because, for once, there are lots of moral decisions and questionable actions. It fulfils the adventure criteria and also gives McGann more to get his teeth into. There is more of a sense of this leading up to something and the writer Jonathan Morris put us on the backfoot with the shocking events. There was something different and more intense about this episode that seemed to be missing when playing for laughs. There is still humour there but it is the darker humour and that comes in just before you get your head ripped off by a turtle on its hind legs.

Sue Davies

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