(ISBN 1-903654-51-3)





 Nyssa will die at

 dawn, and the Doctor

 doesn't even know



 To save her life, he

 must make a

 desperate journey to

 the only place in the

 universe where a cure

 might exist.


 When even that fails,

 the Doctor has a

 choice ­ let Nyssa die,

 or make a deal with

 the devil. After all,

 the road to hell is

 paved with good



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november 2001






I must be one of many people who pressed ‘play’ on the first episode of “Primeval” without knowing what it was going to be about – Big Finish really did a first class job of keeping the setting of this story a secret. The rather vague, but nonetheless intriguing blurb and the name Lance Parkin on the back on the CD meant that whatever this four part adventure was going to be about, I had high hopes for it. Thankfully, I was not to be disappointed…

Parkin’s first audio play revolves around the interesting premise of the Doctor taking Nyssa back to Traken a long, long time before its destruction; all the way back to its ‘Primeval’ days, to a time before the Keepers where the Trakonites worshipped the Source directly. Nyssa’s illness alluded to in the blurb is actually little to do with the main plot, which has far more to with the god-like Kwandaar’s rebels attempting to seize control of the Source and in doing so take over the Traken Union. Parkin’s script cleverly evokes the harmonious atmosphere of Traken as we remember it from Tom Baker’s penultimate story (full of fosters, consuls and the like), though Parkin’s vision of Traken is slightly darker. Whereas in “The Keeper of Traken” Johnny Byrne used the evil Melkur as a harsh contrast to the peaceful Trakenites, in “Primeval” things are not quite as black and white, particularly so for as the followers of Kwandaar are concerned.

Both Peter Davison and Sarah Sutton are absolutely superb in “Primeval.” I enjoyed their performance together in “The Mutant Phase” far more than I did in their first two audio plays together, and here they both take it up yet another notch, the Doctor desperate to save Nyssa’s life and Nyssa put in the unusual position of being able to return home… a home that she saw destroyed in the future. Parkin also offers some explanation as to how Nyssa’s psi-powers develop, as well as depicting the events surrounding the appointment of the very first Keeper of Traken. No prizes for guessing who that turns out to be…


And so all told, “Primeval” is a deep and fascinating sequel / prequel to one of the very best Tom Baker stories. I just hope that Big Finish can secure the services of Mr Parkin again in the very near future...


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


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