The Doctor (Tom Baker), Leela (Louise Jaeson) and K9 (John Leeson) find land the Tardis above a luxury star liner. This might seem like a nice break, if it weren’t for the fact the liner is on course for the sun and no one on board seems bothered by the fact. And if that weren’t bad enough, Leela is expected to ‘mingle’ over cocktails.
This is another great story in the time of COVID-19 – not the story being told (although we will get onto that in a moment), but the story behind the production. Originally this was meant to be part of the Fourth Doctor Adventures series, but production was halted due to the Corona virus lockdown. For obvious reasons, it was cancelled. But the good folks at Big Finish weren’t to be stopped. Instead, they set to work getting the cast to record at home, advising them on how best to make a home set up and working to make all the audio sound flawlessly like they were all in the same room. It was no mean feat, but one they have achieved perfectly.
Getting back to the story being told though, this is a pleasing tale of religious zealots on course for the sun, believing it will somehow lead them to a greater salvation in a promise land. As writer Robert Valentine reveals in the extras, he wanted to do a story about people putting their opinions on the same level with facts and science – a very topical subject and one handled here with great aplomb.
Baker is in fine eccentric form and has a wonderful scene where he makes a plan whilst talking to himself. Jameson gets some lovely Leela moments, notably when she has to mingle and John Leeson, is, well, just K9! The guest cast are all well-chosen by director Nicholas Briggs, with characters from those blindly believing, to those questioning what they are doing, to those who are just out and out taking advantage of the situation. For an hour long adventure, this one covers a lot of ground.
All told though, I think I will always love this as the story they pulled together to do, to give us another audio drama to keep us entertained in dark times, and a really good story at that.