(ISBN 1-84435-100-9)





 On the planet Cray,

 it's game time.


 The Gora and the

 Lineen are set to face

 off in the grudge

 match to end all

 grudge matches. The

 players are limbering

 up, the commentators

 are preparing, the

 fans are daubing

 themselves in their

 team's colours. The

 arena is set, and the

 kick-off is



 When the Doctor and

 Nyssa arrive,

 however, they find

 that Naxy is a sport

 that anyone can play

 - whether they want

 to or not. Cray's

 entire future depends

 on the match's

 outcome, but the time

 travellers soon

 realise that it is

 anything but just a



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The Game








“The Game” is an audio drama with quite a bit of hype surrounding it. We have the first fifth Doctor and Nyssa audio for well over a year; the return of the actor who played one of the Doctor’s first batch of companions, William Russell, albeit in a different role; and another major guest star in The Bill’s Christopher Ellison, who plays the deplorable crime boss Morian. We also have six short episodes crammed onto two CDs rather than the usual four extended episodes. We have more cliffhangers. More pace. More action.


But is it actually any good?


After listening to the play, I thought that it was. Although I would not rate it as highly as some of the previous Peter Davison / Sarah Sutton audios, it is certainly much better than the likes of “The Land of the Dead” and “Winter For The Adept.” There is a definite energy about “The Game;” whether it comes from the quick-fire twenty-minute episodes or the fact that the Doctor is engaged in a sporting contest to the death, I really do not know.

The whole concept of “The Game” is unique. The notion of a war brewing from a sport is an intriguing concept, and in a way the antithesis of what we have in real life – just look at the England’s unparalleled international football rivalries – Germany, Argentina…

Furthermore, the presentation of “The Game”, particularly the early episodes, is a real triumph for the audio medium. To have an announcer call the Doctor’s games as if the audience is listening to a real radio broadcast, relaying to us the Doctor’s exploits whilst lost in the carnage (unwillingly armed with his deadly ‘wand’!) is a fantastic way of drawing the audience into this adventure and moreover, it adds a wonderful sense of realism to the proceedings.

William Russell is excellent in his role as the peacemaker Lord Carlisle, his temporally displaced relationship to the Doctor (his “best friend”) both fascinating and touching, but it is his fatherly attitude toward Nyssa which really pulls on the old heartstrings. Once again Nyssa is forced to lose another father figure, one she was even willing to leave the Doctor to serve as his aide. On a side note, I really like how Big Finish are continuing to portray Nyssa’s restlessness in travelling with the Doctor. With the hindsight of these of audios, her decision to leave the TARDIS is “Terminus” does not seem quite as sudden.

In all, “The Game” is also a story that seems tailor-made for the fifth Doctor and Nyssa; so much so that I was incredibly surprised when I read that Darin Henry had originally pitched the story as a sixth Doctor adventure. Davison has always said that his Doctor did “running about quickly” better than any of the other Doctors, and dressed in his cricketing attire it seems quite fitting that Davison’s sporty Doctor should be the one thrust into “The Game.” You might not literally get any more for your money with the six episodes than you do with the usual four-part releases, but you certainly get a fast and groundbreaking story that makes the hundred and fifteen-minute running time feel more like sixty!


Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2006


E.G. Wolverson has asserted his right under the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988 to be identified as the author of this work.

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