Big Finish Folly, Part 65 – Power Play, by Gary Hopkins
Chased to Earth by the intergalactic police, The Doctor is forced down near a new nuclear power station. While Peri gets tangled up with the power station’s rather unctuous PR manager, the Doctor bumps into somebody who never thought she would see him again. But far from being delighted by the reunion, old companion Victoria Waterfield just wants to kill the Doctor. And the clock is ticking…
The Lost Stories have done a decent job, in general, of bringing back old villains, old storylines and so forth. The Elite, The Nightmare Fair, last week’s Guardians of Prophecy – all managing to add something extra to what went before. Power Play (aka Meltdown, until events in Japan forced a change in name) does the same in this instance for Victoria, as played by Deborah Watling, who accompanied the Second Doctor in 1967-8, but the end result is a little unsatisfying. That could be because I’m almost totally unfamiliar with the Troughton era (well before my time) and so I can’t immediately connect with Victoria. Old Sixey seems to have the same problem.
The other issue for me is that while (for example) Tegan, Turlough & Nyssa make a good team, with the action split evenly between them, Peri and Victoria almost have to compete with each other. When you add in the rest of the supporting characters and the various plot machinations that only come properly together in the last episode, the whole play ends up rather too full. On the other hand this richness, compared to the single-track plot of Guardians of Prophecy, does pull the script out of the 80s and into the modern era and so this Lost Story feels a lot like a Main Range release except for the deliberately dated soundtrack.
The major villain here is revealed to be a “planet assassin”, which is the sort of job my career advisor never pointed me towards, but which is one of the gloriously bonkers ideas that only Doctor Who can get away with. That in itself redeems the slightly over-complex plotting, and Miles Jupp does a very good job in the role. This is no classic, but it’s definitely good fun.