Written By: John Dorney
Directed By: Nicholas Briggs
Tom Baker (The Doctor), Lalla Ward (Romana), John Leeson (K9/Cabot), Ray Brooks (Drax), John Challis (Rosser), Hugh Fraser (Charles Kirkland/Shopkeeper), Jane Slavin (Shopkeeper 2), Miranda Raison (Inspector Fleur McCormick), John Banks (Grunthar/Street-Cleaner)
Released by Big Finish June 2016 - buy from Amazon UK
Well – REAL trouble with Drax is that I just couldn’t remember the character (I know, I hang my fan head in shame). Yes, I know he was in The Armageddon Factor, but in all honesty, The Key To Time series left me a bit cold (with the exception of The Stones Of Blood, which I adore). So I did a bit of research, and just in case you might be in the same situation as me, here is a quick reminder as to who Drax actually is - he is basically a crafty cockney renegade Time Lord, who knows the Doctor from their Academy days. Drax is a bit shifty, and is pretty much always up to no good, while always tring to earn a fast buck. There you go – so, on with the show….
The Trouble With Drax opens with a Time Lord being hunted. At first you think it is the Doctor, but it is of course Drax, who seems to escape certain incarceration by the skin of his teeth. Meanwhile the TARDIS is taken off course and materialises on a spaceship. As the Doctor (Tom Baker), Romana (Lalla Ward) and K9 (John Leeson) step out, we are properly introduced to Drax, along with his companion Rosser and Sir Charles Kirkland, all three of whom desperately need the Doctor’s help to liberate an item from Altrazar, which as Romana describes it is a temporal Atlantis – an unreachable city that is lost in time, which has become a dumping ground for those with power on which to hide their most dark and dangerous secrets. To help persuade the Doctor to help, Romana and K9 will be held hostage until the mission proves a success.
I loved the idea of Altrazar. A world so lost in time that night, day, the past and the future are all happening at once. Drax is of course, the loveable rogue that you would expect. He has regenerated twice since his last appearance (which is probably a good thing as the original actor, Barry Jackson, sadly passed away in 2013). This time around Drax is played by Ray Brooks (THE David Campbell from the classic Peter Cushing film Daleks – Invasion Earth 2150 AD). Ray is most definitely not the only Dr Who alumni here though as Rosser is played by none other than John Challis, who of course was Scorby in The Seeds Of Doom. Sir Charles is played by Big Finish regular Hugh Fraser.
TheTroublewithDrax is VERY nostalgic, and quite funny. As well as a returning character, we have mentions of the Randomiser, the Black Guardian and the Blinovitch Limitation Effect (which features quite heavily in this story). My favourite scene must be when Drax first recognises the Doctor, saying it was good to see him with the Princess Astra, and not 'that shifty ice maiden'. Lala Ward’s response is, of course priceless. The plot twists and turns, and you will be surprised at the lengths Drax has gone to in order to perform the perfect heist, but the end sting, however clever it might think it is, will have you slapping your forehead and shaking your head.
Right, that’s me done – I’m off to The Rutan’s Tendril for a nice pint and a packet of crisps. TheTroublewithDrax is available from Big Finish now.