Safe as Melkur¹

Here’s the start of another “season” of Sixth Doctor plays, beginning with another triptych of Lost Stories. And the return of some iconic bad guys too…

Big Finish Folly, Part 64 – The Guardians of Prophecy, by Johnny Byrne and Jonathan Morris.

The world of Serenity is the only surviving remnant of the Union of Traken. Peaceful for the last thousand years, governed by an artificial intelligence named Prophecy, Serenity is however on the verge of outright civil war. And deep in an underground tomb, the planet’s legacy of pure evil is about to be awoken… Yep, it’s time for the Doctor to arrive…

This is a proper nostalgia trip. The Master and Nyssa aside, the one thing people remember most about The Keeper of Traken is the rock-hard bad guy statue, the Melkur. A wonderfully designed monster, all curves and lines, the Melkur come in numbers here, blasting scenery to pieces. Even better, they’re voiced by the chap who originally had to wear the awkward rubber costume, The Bill’s own Graham Cole. Bad as they are however, they are overshadowed by Stephen Thorne’s excellently over-the-top Malador.

A fast-paced four-parter, Guardians of Prophecy takes care of all the usual tropes within the first episode – foreshadowing evil, bickering bureaucrats, fomenting revolution, canny tomb raiders, Tardis pulled off-course – and then spends the remainder of its running time making things explode. I like it, but it doesn’t really make for anything really deep. However since this is supposed to be a “missing 80s” episode, depth is perhaps optional. Nothing really grates, which is down to Jonathan Morris’s adaptation of the source material, and this would be a pretty decent story to use as an introduction to the audio plays for anybody who fancies dipping into them.

Buy it here

¹Captain Beefheart’s debut album – and easily the least “difficult” to listen to – was called Safe As Milk.


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