Moor Trolls

Big Finish Folly, Part 82 – The Spectre of Lanyon Moor, by Nicholas Pegg

Ooh ‘eck. There’s trouble up on t’moor. The archeological dig is haunted by ghostly goings-on and, when the Doctor and Evelyn turn up, a certain former UNIT Brigadier is looming large on the scene. Add to that the peculiar behaviour of Sir Archibald Flint and a sudden surge of pyschic power from under the excavated burial mound, and it’s clear that there’s more at stake here than neolithic spear heads…

Slightly delayed (so much for one a week), the Sixth Doctor leaps headlong into an adventure that surely wouldn’t have been out of place in Tom Baker’s tenure, if the Stones of Blood hadn’t already happened. The set-up is quickly dealt with – an angry alien, buried under Lanyon Moor after being abandoned by its brother, is surging up through convalescence and in time-honoured fashion seeks bloody revenge – and next on the agenda is reintroducing the character of Brigadier Alistair Lethbridge-Stewart (retired).

The joy of Big Finish is that the supporting cast are loved as much as the Doctors themselves, and the Brig is no exception. Nicholas Courtney clearly relishes returning to the role as well, and he has a fair amount of heroic battling to do, especially in the final episode, but while he and the Doctor are carted off on a side trip to monitor a sub-plot taking place in a Greek museum it is down to Evelyn Smythe to battle the play’s Big Bad/Deluded Maniac. Sir Archibald Flint is played with a fair amount of eye-rolling and frothing by James Bolam, but even he can’t match Maggie Stables for tenacity and sour wit.

Once again, the denouement is a little unsatisfying: while the fate of the abandoned alien’s brother lends tragedy and futility to Sancreda’s long battle, the Brigadier’s last minute shenanigans actually absorb some of that impact. Nevertheless, this is a fun and thrilling escapade, and well worth the listener’s time.
****½

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