Philip Hinchcliffe Presents - The Genesis ChamberBookmark and Share

Thursday, 6 October 2016 - Reviewed by Matt Tiley
genesis chamber

Written By:Philip Hinchcliffe, adapted by Marc Platt 

Director:Ken Bentley

Cast          

Tom Baker (The Doctor), Louise Jameson (Leela), 

Jon Culshaw (DeRosa Janz), Hannah Genesius (Ana Janze), Jemma Churchill (Farla Janz/Inscape), Dan Li(Grillo Clavik), Vernon Dobtcheff (Jorenzo Zorn), Arthur Hughes (Shown), Gyuri Sarossy (Volor), Elliot Chapman (Dack/Loyyo)

Producer David Richardson

Script Editor John Dorney

Executive Producers Jason Haigh-Ellery and Nicholas Briggs

So, here we have The Genesis Chamber, where we join the Doctor and Leela on a planet that has been colonised by humans. There are two communities, one that lives inside a technologically advanced dome, where they rely on a powerful computer system called Inscape to provide their every need, even down to designer children. The other community lives outside the dome, and relies on more traditional methods to survive, shunning technology completely. Both colonies are fearful of each other. Suddenly there is a third faction, could this be an advance guard of an invasion force with a twist? With the sudden threat, Inscape goes off line, and the city is in turmoil. Can the Doctor and Leela repel the invaders, reunite the two communities and get Inscape up and running again? Only time will tell.

Philip Hinchcliffe Presents – The Genesis Chamber is a full on, epic, it's a six part Fourth Doctor and Leela adventure. Personally I had the feeling it might be set right after The Talons of Weng-Chiang, the relationship  of the two leads still seemed quite new to me, they seemed to be still wonderfully, and quite gleefully discovering things about each other as the story progressed. The writing is great, but I felt not overly evocotive of Hinchcliffe's 'gothic' era, which surprised me. Like most of Hinchcliffe's work though there are undercurrents of classic literature. Romeo and Juliet being mostly to the fore (even Leela gets a tragic love story). Oh, and the sequence where Leela has to drive a futeristic car is priceless!

With a running time of three hours,  I was concerned that the audio might struggle to keep my attention, but once it gets going it romps along. There seemed to be a huge cast of characters, but never does it become confusing….unless you count the plots numerous twists and turns (there are many!). Some of which are pure genius.

Along with Tom Baker and Louise Jameson, we have Jon Culshaw - who rather ironically of course has aped Tom Baker on numerous occasions, including voicing him for The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot (please, do google his impressions if you havent seen them already - Jon rather famously  even fooled Tom Baker), as well as lending his vocal talents to the McCoy audio, Death Comes To Time. Ae also have Hannah Genesius, Jemma Churchill (who also featured in The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, Dan Li (The Bells Of Saint John), Vernon Dobtcheff (The Borgias), Arthur Hughes, Gyuri Sarossy and Elliot Chapman. All voice artists do a sterling job at bringing their characters to life, the stand out being Volor (played with glee by Gyuri Sarossy), a character who is essentially the villain of the piece, and who there is much more to than meets the eye. My only gripe with the story is that the writers deided to give the 'simpler' colonist-folk, who live outside the dome a West Country accent, which grated on this Bristol boy just a little bit.

So, The Genesis Chamber is a great re-visitation back to a time when Doctor Who ruled Saturday evenings, with Tom Baker at his most bonkers, and the loyal savage Leela at his side. Those were the days!