(ISBN 1-84435-315-6)





 A week-long respite

 from a prolonged and

 bloody war, the

 Festival of the Twin

 Moons of Tuin makes

 Glastonbury look like

 a church fete... or so

 the brochure says.

 The Doctor and Ace

 are looking for rest

 and recreation. Hex is

 looking for the beer

 tent. But eternal

 enemies the ginger-

 haired Ri and the

 coot-bald Ir are

 plotting to turn their

 Festival truce to

 their own advantage.

 Only the Dark

 Husband might stop

 the celebrations

 turning to horror...

 but who is the Dark

 Husband? And what

 terror awaits him on

 his wedding night?


 If anyone knows any

 just cause or

 impediment... speak

 now. The lives of

 billions depend on it.


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The Dark Husband

MARCH 2008







I’ve always held a fierce loyalty to and appreciation for Sylvester McCoy’s Doctor; an appreciation that has grown markedly ever since McCoy’s stage commitments began to have a knock-on effect on the number of Big Finish audio dramas that he’s able to star in. Indeed, after six McCoyless months, I have to admit to being quite excited about the release of The Dark Husband.


David Quantick’s script for this story is, as one would have thought, very humorous, but no more so than many contemporary television episodes. In fact, with The Dark Husband Quantick manages to strike just about the optimum balance between telling a good, solid - and often quite gloomy - science-fiction story and making the listener laugh.


The Dark Husband is also grounded in some glorious imagery. The idea of a sort of ‘Glastonbury in Space’ is a fantastic idea; one that I can’t believe hasn’t reared its head previously in Doctor Who. And as for a living planet that wants to tear its soul in half… pure, unadulterated gold.


What’s more, the centuries old war between the Ir and the Ri (or the “slapheads” and the “gingers”, as Hex calls them) is depicted very cleverly by both Quantick in the writing and Big Finish in the actual production. The Doctor’s “two sides, one coin” line from The Happiness Patrol takes on a whole new meaning here, particularly for Danny Webb, who plays not only Ori and Irit, the Ri and the Ir representatives, but also Tuin – the living planet that created them. For fear of spoilers I never listen to the CD Extras until after I’ve listened to the whole play, and so whilst listening to The Dark Husband I didn’t even suspect that Webb was playing more than one role. I could clearly hear him in Irit, but even in that performance he sounded utterly unlike how he did in The Satan Pit two-parter on television, or even more recently in Big Finish’s Girl Who Never Was. I really have to take my hat off the man – that is diversity with a capital D.


“Football… and other things…”


Turning to the regulars, McCoy’s scant availability coupled with the freedom that he has been given by Big Finish to explore his ‘lonely’ Doctor has resulted in a full year passing without the release a single adventure featuring Ace and Hex. However, The Dark Husband makes it feel like they’ve never been away – Sylvester McCoy, Sophie Aldred and Philip Olivier are all on top form here. Having apparently forgotten all about his epiphany in Nocturne, here the seventh Doctor is back to his trademark plotting and scheming, this time with a view to ending the war on the twin moons of Tuin. Only this time, to end a war he has to get married… to “the Shining Wife” or, as we know her, Ace! As you can imagine, much good-natured silliness ensues, culminating in the mandatory marriage of Ace and Hex, which Hex seems far too pleased about for Ace’s liking…


All told, The Dark Husband is a remarkable addition to the range. The whole play has a real sense of zest about it that I found especially refreshing for a seventh Doctor release, given that his stories have a tendency to drift towards the sombre or the melancholy. This one is a comedy that isn’t played for laughs, a rich and warm character story that doesn’t cut too deep, and a grim science-fiction story that doesn’t overstep the mark. Let’s just hope that we don’t have to wait a year or more for story 7W/H…





Copyright © E.G. Wolverson 2008


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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