(ISBN 1-903654-74-2)





 Ibiza 97, and

 thousands of young

 people are acting like

 mindless zombies.


 Which is to be

 expected. Ibiza, the

 island of dance music,

 sex, drugs and

 alcohol, is the

 ultimate hedonistic



 God has sent help 

 from on high to save

 the sinners of Ibiza.

 He has sent His angels

 to save their souls.


 Which would be

 simple enough if these

 souls didn't include

 an alien time-

 traveller working in

 a bar, a woman who

 disappeared in 1987,

 a young man carrying

 a photograph of a

 girl he's never met

 and an Irish girl who

 doesn't even know

 who she is anymore.


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The Rapture








Joseph Lidsters first Doctor Who offering is a big favourite of mine. I had really enjoyed the preceding seventh Doctor and Ace story, Colditz, which I’d found to be been a tremendous improvement on the first few post-Survival audio dramas because it was a gripping, well-executed escapade that still found time to focus on character specifically on that of Ace.


The Rapture, whilst not as polished as its predecessor, breaks new ground on a number of levels. Innovative and original, it really pushes the envelope without diminishing the basic tenets of the show. In many respects, it feels like one of the Virgin New Adventures, not just through its explicit references to ecstasy, sex and alcohol but in terms of how credibly the characters are portrayed. It’s clear here that the Doctor and Ace are real characters; real time travellers who have to deal with the real-life consequences of their wacky outer space adventures.


Big Finishs thirty-sixth release also boasts the company’s finest cover yet a silhouette of the Doctor with the sun setting over the island of Ibiza behind him, the title of the CD and the artists imposed over the top of him in parody of some DJ’s summer dance megamix. Now although I can’t stand dance music at all, as one of the mindless zombies who has visited Ibiza on occasion, I really appreciated the modern setting of this story. However, traditionalists shouldn’t be put off listening to the play purely because of the controversial setting. The hedonistic setting is far from wanton: Gabriel and Jude, the two ‘Angels chose Ibiza to build their Rapture because of the fact that it’s the most unholy place on Earth.These two Angels, refugees from another dimension, plan to conscript the selfish, pleasure-seeking sinners of Ibiza into their army to help take back their homeworld. The sex, drugs and alcohol - even the bloody dance music - are therefore integral the plot.


The alien threat, however, isn’t even half of the story - the real heart of The Rapture is Ace, or ‘Dorothy McShane’, as she now prefers. Traumatised by the horrific death of Kurtz inside the TARDIS at the end of the previous story, she asks the Doctor to take her somewhere where she can relax somewhere where people aren’t trying to kill her. The weary traveller hasn’t been on Ibiza for more than a few hours when she meets Liam McShane, her long-lost brother that she didn’t even know she had. The scenes between Sophie Aldred (Ace) and David John (Liam) are exceedingly well-written and emotively performed, adding a hell of a lot more depth to Aces character, and forcing her to confront a lot of demons from her past. It also makes you wonder how much co-incidence has to do with the TARDIS landing in the precise spot in space and time where Aces brother just happens to be searching for her, and how much it has to do with that scheming old Time Lord at the controls


The Doctor himself takes a back seat which, though necessary, is a tremendous shame. Nevertheless, Sylvester McCoy brings his best to every scene that he’s in – who would’ve ever thought they’d see Times Champion rolling up his sleeves and pulling pints in San Antonio, ey? Spanish civil war survivor (and alien, it seems) Gustavo, the proprietor of the bar in which the Doctor is helping out, shares some delectable scenes with McCoy and is cleverly used by Lidster to draw an interesting parallel between the Angels inter-dimensional war and Francos fascism, which is particularly interesting once it becomes clear where Gustavo’s sympathies lie.


Anne Birds Caitriona or Cat is also worthy of mention. A manic depressive with a sexy Irish lilt, Cat is one of the most real and fascinating bit part players that the series has ever produced.


Full marks also have to be given for the ambitious sound design on this story which really brings Ibiza to life, and for the wonderful device of having one scene dovetail into the next making the deliberate, character-driven plot seem far pacier than it actually is.


About as far from An Unearthly Child as you could get without breaking the mould, The Rapture is Doctor Who for the 21st century; refreshing and engaging throughout. You’ll laugh at the Doctor trying to get into a nightclub. You’ll sympathise with Ace wanting a normal life. You’ll empathise with Jude. You’ll probably even fall in love with Cat, and cheer at the end when she survives and makes her naff phasers on stunjoke. Simply put, The Rapture is a first-class story, bold and brilliant, and with no holds barred.


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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