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The Land of the Dead

Reviewed by Jon Preddle

It is difficult to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with Big Finish's fourth audio release. From an acting point of view, the production is top-notch. Peter Davison is on great form, and Sarah Sutton - making a welcome return to the Doctor Who fold - still sounds like Nyssa, albeit somewhat older. However, I've always felt that the fifth Doctor worked best when Tegan was around, but sadly there is little likelihood that this pairing will ever happen in the audios.

The Land of the Dead is very much a traditional Doctor Who story, with a group of people trapped in an isolated place threatened by monsters. The location is a private museum in the snowy wilderness of Alaska, an interesting, although in the long run, irrelevant setting, which seems to have been chosen only to provide a background to the monsters by way of Native American mythology.

Although writer Stephen Cole obviously knows his stuff, there just isn't enough plot to sustain four whole episodes. I can quite easily imagine that had this been a TV story it could have been the token two-parter that was standard during the Davison era.

The first part of Land works quite well, and the cliffhanger, with the arrival of the monster, is so typical. Unfortunately, nothing much else happens in the other three instalments - well, nothing more than the main and guest characters being chased around the house by the monsters, with a lot of expositional dialogue given between breaths. And it must be said that the way the creatures are finally dealt with was hardly original and reminded me so much of Warriors of the Deep...

This item appeared in TSV 60 (June 2000).