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Winter for the Adept

Reviewed by Jon Preddle

With Phantasma-snoria, Red Yawn, and Bland of the Dead, as one of my colleagues likes to call them, there seems to be a pattern forming with the Peter Davison Big Finish audios. They are dull. And sadly the fourth, Andrew Cartmel's Winter for the Adept, is no exception. You might get the impression that I don't like these Big Finish Productions. Quite the contrary. I've thoroughly enjoyed both of the Dalek Empire CDs, and The Fires of Vulcan, and I'm very much looking forward to the forthcoming McGann series. Unfortunately it seems that Davison has so far drawn the short straw for getting the weakest scripts.

The story focuses heavily around poltergeists, making it necessary to have the characters speak in a very stilted manner in order to describe the movement of objects for the benefit of the listener ("Doctor! Look at that chair by the door. It's moving. It's coming towards us!"). It's forced and unnatural.

The main cast, Davison and Sarah Sutton are recognisable as their usual roles. Sutton seems to have relaxed a bit since her previous outing. But having the Doctor absent for most of episode one, and his arrival forming part of the first cliff-hanger, is too much like those New Adventures novels that don't introduce the Doctor until after page 50.

Of the supporting cast, I felt Peter Jurasik, who was so wonderful as Londo in Babylon 5, was wasted in what was a very ordinary and limiting part. His character could have been played by any one of the stock actors who feature on these CDs. If Big Finish is going to make use of a high-profile actor in a guest role, they could at least given them something more meatier!

This production was India Fisher's ‘audition’ for getting the part of Charley Pollard, the eighth Doctor's new companion. From her performance in Winter, it is not hard to see why Gary and Jason saw her potential as companion material.

It embarrasses me to say that the best part of this audio occurs at the end. After the usual trailers, keep the CD running for about 10 minutes and you'll find a hidden treat!

This item appeared in TSV 61 (December 2000).