In Review: Big Finish: Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun

What’s going on? And can the Doctor and his friends save everyone... when nobody wants to be saved?

Synopsis: After an accident, the TARDIS lands on a luxury star-liner. Leaving their ship to repair itself, the Doctor, Leela, and K9 find themselves facing a great terror: mingling at a cocktail party.

Something seems awry behind the pleasantries, however. Guests are going missing, and equipment is breaking down. When the Doctor investigates further he discovers that the star-liner is literally on course for disaster.

But no-one seems surprised by this information, still less troubled. What’s going on? And can the Doctor and his friends save everyone… when nobody wants to be saved?

Review: According to the Extra Interviews, Big Finish originally planned to release Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun in 2024. I’m glad I got to listen to it now. It was a sobering comfort to me to hear The Doctor, Leela, and K9 trying their very best in an allegory for this time, as I celebrated my birthday in lockdown.

Story

The Big Finish team recorded this story in makeshift home studios in isolation. Thanks to the skill and patience of sound designer Toby Hrycek-Robinson, listeners wouldn’t know it.

Writer Robert Valentine crafted a script that left little to the imagination because we no longer have the luxury of subtlety. A Time Lord, his companions, a ship’s crew, and members of a cult played out what we’re currently living in allegory so thinly veiled that it was barely allegory. Valentine knew this was what science fiction was ultimately for and did what every creative writing instructor said to do — write what he knew.

Acting

Massive kudos to the entire cast for recording in a truly weird and off-putting context. Here’s hoping they can safely return to Big Finish’s regular studios.

Tom Baker, Louise Jameson, and John Leeson (in a dual role) were marvelous as ever. Paul Herzberg, Glen McCready, and Fenella Woolgar perfectly conveyed the archetypes and tropes their characters represented.

If I were to single out anyone in the excellent cast, it would have to be Barnaby Edwards. He made absolute meals of his dual roles as the First Officer and the Autopilot. The two were aspects of a single character in many ways. 

Overall

If Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun was anything to go by, lockdown storytelling will be top-notch throughout. Thank you, Big Finish, for keeping calm and carrying on.

 

9.3
Big Finish: Doctor Who: Shadow of the Sun
  • Story
    8.0
  • Performances
    10
  • Audio Production
    10

Raissa Devereux became a life-long genre fan at the age of four when she first saw The Wizard of Oz at a screening at Arizona State University. Years later, she graduated from A.S.U. as an English major, History minor, Whovian, and Trekkie. Now a Florida transplant, she loves the opportunity Sci-Fi Pulse has given her to further explore space travel, time travel, masked heroes, gothic castles, and good yarns.
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