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Doctor Who: Kiss Of Death by Stephen Cole

01/08/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Kiss Of Death in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Kiss Of Death in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story with extras. Price: CD: GBP14.99 (UK), Download: GBP12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-559-4. cast: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Sarah Sutton, Lucy Adams, Michael Maloney, Lizzie Roper and John Banks.

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‘Kiss Of Death’ follows on from ‘Heroes Of Sontar’ and finally we get some more information about Turlough. His back story comes right to the front and things get ever so slightly steamy, albeit in the ice corridors of a frozen planet.

Stuck on the luxury resort planet, Vektrix, while the TARDIS is giving itself an MOT, Tegan (Janet Fielding) is pleased to have a break and Nyssa (Sarah Sutton) is happy to relax, albeit with some concerns about her own life, but Turlough (Mark Strickson) is restless. He’s not used to not have to run away from something and that something is making him uneasy but he doesn’t know why.

When his past arrives on his doorstep, Turlough has little time to be amazed. His childhood sweetheart, Deela (Lucy Adams), is the last person he expects and it seems they are both required by a man who has a plan that involves transporting them across the galaxy. The two kidnappers called Hoss (Lizzie Roper) and Kanch (John Banks) are determined and happy enough to spill blood to ensure their prisoners are taken off world.

As the reconstituted Scooby Gang continue to travel in this little time bubble of fiction, this story cheekily borrows the revelation which was made in the final appearance of Turlough in the TV series (‘Planet Of Fire’) about his homeworld and how he ended up on Earth to create a story that gives a whole lot of time to Turlough and his lost love.

There are limited additional characters in ‘Kiss Of Death’ and this is a good thing when you already have four main characters having to be fed lines and engaged. There is no being locked in the TARDIS for an episode, so here we need plot strands for everyone. Initially, two kidnappers and a love interest provide the additional plot momentum as Turlough is whisked away from his friends and into danger. The TARDIS is not used at all, giving the Doctor (Peter Davison) more to do including piloting a spacecraft, makes a change from the casual use of time and space travel.

The big, bad criminal mastermind, Rennol, is played with finger-licking nastiness by Michael Maloney and the best word to describe him is ‘oily’ with a side order of ‘slick’. In between the action set-pieces, there is time for some tender back story between Turlough and Deela and some snarky dialogue between the kidnappers. We also have another couple of plot strands that make it a worthwhile four episodes and the frigid planet has some more very disturbing twists and turns for us.

With some time to tell this story, there is even the chance to make some sarcastic comments about Turlough’s ginger-ness although as we know now it is considered most the desirable hair colour since the advent of Amy Pond.

There are the usual interviews which fill in some more detail and about ten minutes of the music written by Steve Foxon, who is also responsible for overall sound design. I’m not usually one for the standalone music but listening to this made me realise how much we take for granted about the general excellence and attention to detail in these audios.

Altogether, this is a great off-world adventure which focuses on Turlough making him and his character traits centre stage. It feels nicely filled out with the dialogue organically flowing without feeling overly contrived.

Sue Davies

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This book has 46 votes in the sci-fi charts

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