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Monday, 14 July 2014 - Reviewed by Ben Breen

The Dying Light
Released by Big Finish
Written by Nick Wallace
Directed by Lisa Bowerman
Released: Dec 2013

Big Finish Productions strive to create audio adventures that can be enjoyed by everyone and their efforts for last November's celebrations were very successful in that regard. As part of their relentless quest to bring more and more original tales of the Time Lords to anyone who likes audiobooks, a three story run involving the slippery Quadrigger Stoyn came into being.

This trilogy consists of The Beginning, The Dying Light and finally, Luna Romana. The Dying Light is one of several audio adventures featured under the banner of "The Companion Chronicles".

Even though I received a Companion Chronicles CD with my special edition copy of The Light at the End, the main 50th anniversary adventure, I haven't got around to listening to it as of the time of writing. However, I was aware before delving into this story that they might be shorter adventures, partly due to them not being full cast audio dramas. Nonetheless, as I listened and wondered what twists and turns the plot had in store, I was actually surprised and a little disappointed to discover that there were only two episodes in this story. This allows for little background and character development to be accomplished in comparison to the more common full cast audio dramas, such as The Sirens of Time, which normally have around four episodes each.

The story is, to say the least, an intriguing one. The Doctor, in his second incarnation, along with Jamie (Frazer Hines) and Zoe (Wendy Padbury), land once again off-course, in a cave of some kind. After realising that the scanner isn't defective, as is first feared, the three time travellers then embark on an exploration of a great city. This takes them into some rather dangerous situations, one of these encounters finishing up the first episode. In what could be seen as an homage to the second Doctor's era - the time travellers are trapped both in progress and retreat by large stone giants. This does play a role in the second and final episode of the story, if only seemingly for dramatic tension. The planet on which the travellers land is said to be a dying one, orbiting a dying star. Well, no prizes for guessing where the adventure gets its name from.

The plot itself seems fairly sketchy in places, although since this review only covers the standalone story, there may be important links in the other sections of the trilogy which are missing here. Repeated listening may be preferable to discover exactly how the salient points are supposed to fit together.

The only criticism I could place on this story is that there was no dedicated cast member for Katherine, although Hines' performance is admirable. His second doctor, however, does deserve a mention and, as seen in The Light at the End, his performance does imitate the late Patrick Troughton relatively well.

The casting of Terry Molloy, well-known to most Doctor Who fans as the psychotic and maniacal Davros, creator of the Daleks, seems well thought out. Quadrigger Stoyn does begin as a particularly prickly character, aided by Molloy’s choice of vocabulary as much as his own vocal qualities. It progresses to a point at which we, as readers/listeners, might begin to sympathise with him, but there is nearly always an uncertain feeling about what he is going to come up with next, appropriate for a villain of this style.

All in all, The Dying Light is a rather intriguing two-episode adventure even as a standalone story, with what might be considered a minor lack of casting and a slightly puzzling story.

FILTER: - Big Finish - Second Doctor - Audio - 1781780889