Dr Who: The Thing From The Sea - Fourth Doctor Audio AdventuresBookmark and Share

Wednesday, 18 April 2018 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
The Thing From The Sea (Credit: BBC Audio)
Written by: Paul Magrs
Read by:Susan Jameson
Published by BBC Physical Audio
In 18th Century coastal Italy, the local fishermen haul in an extraordinary catch: a gigantic serpent. The Doctor identifies it as an alien, but to the ailing locals this fabled sea creature has the capacity to heal them - if only Count Otto will share it with them. When Mrs Wibbsey comes under the influence of the Count, the Doctor finds himself snared by the wicked power of a seemingly immortal magician, the infamous Cagliostro!
 
For those not  in the know - Finnella Wibbsey is the Doctor's housekeeper in his English country, Nest Cottage, in Cromer. The character has appeared in the BBC's previous audio releases Hornet's Nest, Demon Quest and Serpent Crest (all of which were released between 2009 and 2011).
 
The Thing From The Sea has a very busy story, that includes possession, an alien leviathan, genocide, psychic connections, a mysterious Count, elongated lifespans, a braying village, an evil megalomaniacal magician (Cagliostro), and a talking golden monkey (I kid you not). Sadly the overly complex plot is just one stumbling block.
 
The second is that the previous releases had a cast. This is read by Susan Jameson, who played Mrs Wibbsey in the previous adventures. There are no cast members.
 
This is also the third issue. Jameson tries ably, but in this instance she sadly just doesn't have the range. Her fourth Doctor sounds like an eccentric Mrs Wibbsey. Her Count sounds like a European Mrs Wibbsey. Her braying locals sound like a braying, European Mrs Wibbsey. Her Cagliostro sounds like a clinically insane Mrs Wibbsey. I'm sure that you get the message. The narration falls quite flat. So much so I found my mind wandering away from the story, and having to rewind to catch back up.
 
The BBC Audios, in my opinion, have always been the poorer relation to Big Finish, which is rather ironic. I listened to Hornet's Nest on its original release, and although it had Tom Baker reprising his role - it was rather dully executed. So much so that I didn't return to the subsequent releases in the series. Until now that is. I was hoping that things had somewhat improved, but discovered that sadly they hadn't. 
 
I must be frank, I feel quite bad posting such a poor review, I know that people obviously worked hard on this audio, but it just didn't float my boat. On checking some other reviews, I didn't feel quite so bad. The audio seems to be received as average at best. Perhaps I'm just a tad more honest.