Big Finish Folly, Part 57 – Mission to Magnus, by Philip Martin
There’s a Tardis in distress! But when the Doctor investigates, he discovers that the Time Lord in need of assistance is Anzor, who once bullied him mercilessly at college. Anzor in turn has been called upon by the matriarchal society of Magnus to grant them time-travel technology so that they can defeat their patriarchal neighbours. And slippery entrepreneur Sil, last seen on Varos, is trying to look all innocent in the background – and who owns that massive starship lurking in orbit? The Doctor and Peri are on thin ice here…
The second in the series of Sixth Doctor Lost Stories, Mission to Magnus somehow winds up being less than the sum of its parts. Ice Warriors, Sil, Anzor the bully, fierce psychic Amazons and Sun-reading males… the end product isn’t as exciting as it ought to be. That’s not to say that there aren’t some damned good performances here: Nabil Shaban and Maggie Steed are both magnificent, and Sil’s return to the show is very welcome indeed.
Colin Baker’s Doctor is a sparky (and sarky) unsettled chap here, and the early scenes with Anzor come across as far more comical than I think they should have done. Meanwhile the Ice Warriors come over as standard card-carrying villains.
The most telling part of the script is the portrayal of the male vs female war on the twin worlds of Magnus. From this distance it’s easy to see that the original script was a product of the mid-80s and as long as it is heard and understood through that prism you can just about excuse the rather… outdated… modes of reference. Having said that, the adapted script deals with it all with tongue firmly in cheek, which is probably the best way to do it.
Fair enough, but not a classic. Very much worth it for Nabil Shaban’s excellent return as Sil, though.