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The Spectre of Lanyon Moor

Reviewed by Alden Bates

This story (especially with the presence of the Brigadier) feels almost like a scaled down version of The Dæmons — phantom demonic activities centred on an ancient site, an archeological dig (also shades of Battlefield) and, naturally, people dying mysteriously. The moor is superbly atmospheric, complemented by Alistair Locks' incidental music. The team of the sixth Doctor, Evelyn and the Brigadier is one of the most interesting combinations the audio adventures have produced so far.

Evelyn, the best non-TV companion since Benny, proves once again that she is easily a match for the Sixth Doctor's bluster. Of course, the Brigadier is his usual tiresome self — unfortunately he is an overused character and, while it's nice to hear Nick Courtney again, nothing really new is done with him. These days the Brigadier tends to be written like a walking cliché. (The only counter-example I've found is The Shadows of Avalon.)

The Spectre of Lanyon Moor is an absorbing story, the Sixth Doctor shines — this is one of the great things about the audio adventures and books: the Sixth Doctor has the chance to have rather better stories than he had on TV. Spectre definitely falls into this category. The rather wonderful setting and the many interesting characters make this audio a joy to listen to.

Unfortunately the story seems to rely on a number of startling coincidences (the cliffhanger resolution at the start of episode 3 being a prime example, and utterly predictable from the setup at the end of episode 2) culminating in the climax of the story feeling somehow contrived...

The alien creatures — introduced in the very first scene — get very little of an explanation. Their technology is heavily into telepathy and telekinesis and their ships can be remote-controlled. It's never mentioned why they are surveying Earth, or why they have a fleet wandering around deep space. Apparently they have no intention of invading Earth, as 18,000 years later they still haven't...

Still, even considering the minor plot quibbles, it's a very enjoyable story. The cast put in good performances and the sound effects and music are brilliant. Well worth the money!

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).