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The Macra Terror

Audio review by Adam McGechan

A number of things surprised me about this tape, the first being the quality. I had always assumed that the bad quality of my original audio was caused by it being an nth generation of the original, but it now seems that the BBC's own copy of the soundtrack is pretty bad anyway, just fractionally better than my own. Nevertheless, I persevered and gradually got used to the hiss and found myself listening to the story twice.

This Season Four tale has always been a firm favourite of mine ever since I acquired the novel and some rather wildly distorted stills from it. The story concerns a holiday camp style Earth colony a few centuries in the future that has been taken over by the Macra hideous crab-like creatures that have brainwashed the colonists into happy obedience so that they can tap and refine the lethal gas that the Macra need to survive. It bears some similarities with Delta and the Bannermen - right down to using the same incidental music (albeit heard only briefly in Delta).

The story takes an interesting twist when Ben becomes a slave of the Macra. There's a delightful scene near the beginning of Episode 1 where the Doctor and company are offered the facilities of the 'refreshment department', a scene which includes some excellent dialogue between the main characters.

There's only one fault I can really pick up on. Colin Baker's on the whole excellent narration gets a bit vague towards the end of Episode 4, to the extent that it is very unclear as to what actually happens to destroy the Macra and save the colony. Nevertheless, this tape should be a welcome addition to anyone's collection, and I can't wait for such lesser-known (yet just as good) stories such as The Savages or The Celestial Toymaker to be released.

This item appeared in TSV 34 (July 1993).

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