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Doctor Who: Rat Trap by Tony Lee

1/10/2011. Contributed by Sue Davies

Buy Doctor Who: Rat Trap in the USA - or Buy Doctor Who: Rat Trap in the UK

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pub: Big Finish. 2 CDs 120 minute story. Price: CD: GBP14.99 (UK), Download: GBP12.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84435-560-0). cast: Peter Davison, Janet Fielding, Mark Strickson, Sarah Sutton, John Banks, Alison Thea-Skot, Terry Molloy, David Seymour, Andrew Dickens and Charlie Norfolk.

check out web site www.BigFinish.com

As the Doctor (Peter Davison) and his three companions arrive in Cadogan they are expecting a little jousting. The Doctor wants them to have a bit of fun. Nyssa, in particular, is feeling the strain of trying to find a consistent vaccine for Rictus Syndrome. Of course, the timer is out on the TARDIS as usual and they arrive in 1983 on the 9th of June, general election day, to find themselves in the tunnels under the castle. It’s part of a defunct government experimental project and they are not the only ones wondering about.
In this time of great change as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher prepares to extend her reign on a wave of post-Falklands euphoria, there are three disaffected types looking for clues as to what actually happened in this government facility. As the three get further into the tunnels, it starts to look like the past is not so dead and buried after all. It’s all getting a little serious, especially as Kevin is carrying explosives. The first dead body is a clue that something is amiss in the here and now.

As the Doctor and Tegan join with group, they both keep their own secrets and exchange information and a reason to keep exploring. They need to find Nyssa and Turlough but this place is a bit of a maze and that’s where you get rats. Don’t forget to run and don’t expect any cheese.

I love it that all the companions and the Doctor are able to project themselves into their younger selves. All the acquired gravitas is tossed out the window and the Doctor has a little lilt to his voice as he launches enthusiastically into the adventure. There is a good mix of characters and a lightening of the mood with a sprinkle of humour as usual.

Of course, the companions are split from the Doctor but they do have their own adventures instead of just getting stuck in the TARDIS. There are enough twists to keep the plot going and not forgetting the usual additional characters that are cannon-fodder for the evil genius author, Tony Lee. Guest voices include Alison Thea-Skotas, PA with ambitions, Sally Lucas and Terry Molloy as Professor Wallace, keeper of a dreadful truth.

‘Rat Trap’ manages the old-style cliff-hangers and the next episode recap with ease and has some nicely gross detail which is probably better on audio and all this brings to mind those classic shows that managed to do this kind of thing on a shoestring budget.

Sue Davies

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