For the 60th Anniversary of Doctor Who we revisit the story of Doctor Who, the occasional series written for the 50th Anniversary, explaining the origins of the programme.

Episode 31 - An Unearthly Series - The Origins of a TV Legend: First published 23 Nov 2013

The Triumph of SutekhBookmark and Share

Thursday, 23 July 2015 -  
The Triumph of Sutekh (Credit: Big Finish)
Doctor Who – The New Adventures of Bernice Summerfield
Volume 2: The Triumph of Sutekh
Written by Guy Adams, Justin Richards, James Goss, and Una McCormack
Directed by Scott Handcock
Starring: Lisa Bowerman (Professor Bernice Summerfield), Sylvester McCoy (The Doctor), Sophie Aldred (Ace), Gabriel Woolf (Sutekh the Destroyer)
Released by Big Finish Productions – June 2015
Following on from last year’s Volume 1, this boxset follows a similar format with long-running Big Finish regular Lisa Bowerman as the eponymous archaeologist Bernice, who is once again reunited with her former travelling companions, the Doctor and Ace, in rather surprising circumstances. Like last time, there is a effectively a single story running throughout the four adventures which make up Volume 2 but this time around, the stakes are much higher as we are presented with a clear threat from the very beginning. As the box set’s title reveals this series features the long-awaited return of Gabriel Woolf, reprising his well-known television role as Sutekh the Destroyer from the 1975 story Pyramids of Mars.

The Pyramid of Sutekh finds Bernice reunited with the Doctor in less than pleasant circumstances as the long-lost tomb of the Osiran Sutekh has been uncovered. Bernice must try to save the Doctor and prevent Sutekh’s attempts at self-revival. Along the way she is joined by a mummy with recognisable voice which is not credited so I shall also maintain the pleasant surprise, except to say that it will be very familiar to followers of Benny’s solo adventures. It is notable that the Doctor is given a more prominent role to play as there was some criticism that the Doctor and Ace were only featured peripherally in the last year’s boxset and it is great fun to hear Sylvester McCoy utter one of the most infamous lines in the history of Doctor Who.

The Vaults of Osiris finds Benny reunited with Ace, this time on present Earth as they attempt to make sense of recent events and discover the means to prevent the seemingly unstoppable triumph of Sutekh. This is a fun romp with some nice suprises, even allowing for some occasional lapses from the Big Finish school of dodgy foreign accents.

The Eye of Horus sees Benny once more reunited with the Doctor, who is very much not himself in this rather unusual episode. Set in an apparent forgotten period of Ancient Egyptian history this episode feels a little uneven and a little too comedic. It is however saved by the sinister presence of Woolf as Sutekh.

This set culminates in The Tears of Isis. This is another slightly unusual story which finds our protagonists witnessing the end of the world and the ultimate triumph of Sutekh. However, this is the virgin New Adventures universe and even at the darkest of times, the Doctor is not to be underestimated. Suffice to say there are some neat twists in the story’s concluding scenes which lead to a satisfying conclusion and the final confrontation between McCoy’s “Little man” and the Woolf’s deliciously evil Sutekh make for an enjoyable listen.

Overall, a very enjoyable set of stories if at times rather whimsical. The highlight is definitely hearing Woolf give further voice to Sutekh, but fans of Pyramids of Mars may be left wanting a sequel that is more in keeping with the gothic horror style of Season 13.

FILTER: - BIG FINISH - SEVENTH DOCTOR - Audio - 1781785406